Things are not looking good for Simiso Buthelezi. The South African lightweight boxer is in an induced coma at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban, South Africa, after he began to fight an invisible opponent during a WBF All Africa title fight on the weekend.
His real opponent was right behind him looking confused.
Buthelezi was in the final minute of a 10-round bout for the WBA Africa lightweight title against Siphesihle Mntungwa on Sunday when he knocked his opponent through the ropes. Buthelezi then turned his back on Mntungwa and began to shadow box towards the corner of the ring, at which point referee Elroy Marshall quickly called the fight off and called for the medics.
Buthelezi, a recent university graduate in botany and zoology, remains in a coma, with doctors indicating a bleed on his brain as the cause of his condition. Dr Buyi Mabaso-Dlamini, who was ringside during the fight, told local publication The Sowetan on Tuesday morning: “He is not in a good health condition at all; he is critical but stable.
“We discovered that he bled on the brain and sadly his condition does not allow the doctors that are treating to operate at the moment due to the condition.”
Ultimately, this was a scary scene that serves as a reminder that combat sports athletes really do put their heath and wellbeing on the line when they step in to compete.
UPDATE: The South African boxer has passed away.