• Simiso Buthelezi has passed away due to a brain injury that resulted in internal bleeding
  • The number of boxers who have died because of in-ring exploits is staggering
  • His case is a cautionary tale for those take the risks in the sport so lightly

South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi has passed away in a shocking turn of events just a few days after the bewildering video in which he was caught punching the air during a bout for the WBF All Africa lightweight championship.

The development was revealed to the public in a joint statement by the regulatory body Boxing South Africa (BSA) and Buthelezi’s family, citing a brain injury that resulted in internal bleeding.

“Towards the end of his bout, Mr. Buthelezi collapsed and was taken to hospital and it was discovered at the hospital that he suffered a brain injury which resulted in internal bleeding. Mr. Buthelezi was given the best care possible but he however succumbed to the injury last night as aforesaid,” they said as quoted by MMA Junkie.

In the viral video, Buthelezi was en route to winning the title against Siphesihle Mntungwa in the tenth round of their bout.

Buthelezi landed a well-placed left hand on Mntungwa which was subsequently ruled by the referee as a non-knockdown, and as the two prepared to re-engage, Buthelezi turned his attention towards the referee and started punching thin air.

It was a scary sight for everyone inside the venue and those watching the event. The referee immediately stopped the fight in order to have Buthelezi get immediate medical care.

Buthelezi’s passing is a harsh reminder to everyone that the sport of boxing is not something to be taken lightly, and the dangers of being a prizefighter are very real.

In a recent article by How They Play, they brought light to just how many boxers have seen their lives being cut short because of the sport that they took up in order to chase glory or put food on their families’ table, among other reasons.

“Between 1890 and 2019, 1,876 boxers died as a direct result of injuries sustained in bouts. Prior to that, there were 266 documented deaths from 1740 to 1889, the era before gloves was introduced and boxers fought bare-knuckled,” the article stated.

Another study revealed that 1,604 boxers had passed as a direct result of injuries, which adds up to an average of about 13 deaths per year.

The most casual of boxing fans believe that the sport is so simple that anyone and everyone can take it up if they decide to do so, but at the end of the day, being in a job where one’s lone task is to punch someone and to get hit back is an insane thought.

However, this is the reality for most, if not all, boxers and the risk that they put themselves in to entertain fans and support their families is extremely dangerous.

Boxing is not a game that anyone can play whenever they want, and it takes a world of commitment to be one of the best in a sport where one’s health is at risk in every fight they enter.