South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi died in hospital on Sunday after suffering a head injury during a loss in Durban. He was 24 years old at the time.
The referee had to stop Buthelezi from firing punches into the air and attacking an unidentified opponent in the lightweight fight. In the tenth round, Buthelezi took hold of the fight, driving his opponent through the ropes after a seemingly harmless exchange.
According to replays, Buthelezi suffered a powerful jab to the chin from his opponent before fainting and briefly drooping against the ropes. When the play resumed, Buthelezi appeared to lose his bearings.
Instead of heading toward his opponent, he focused on the referee and didn’t seem to notice when the office moved out of the way. He was left staring at an empty corner of the ring, punching an unidentified opponent.
As a result, the bout was promptly stopped by the referee, and Buthelezi was rushed to the hospital. He was put into an induced coma at first, but it was revealed on Wednesday that he had died.
“It is with great grief that Boxing South Africa and the Buthelezi family announce the demise of Mr. Simiso Buthelezi, who passed away last night at a hospital in Durban,” said a joint statement.
“Boxing South Africa will perform an independent medical examination of the injury and make the results of that examination public. The Buthelezi family and Boxing South Africa acknowledge the Minister’s heartfelt condolences.”