Confused Boxer Punches Imaginary Opponent During Bout, Later Dies

Simiso Buthelezi was "untouched" for most of the title fight but then lost all awareness.

Boxer Simiso Buthelezi died Tuesday, days after he got disoriented during a WBF All Africa Lightweight title bout in Durban, South Africa, news outlets reported. He was 24. (Watch the video below.)

The fighter had been placed in an induced coma since Sunday’s match.

Buthelezi had reportedly been the aggressor for much of the fight. He pressured his opponent, Siphesihle Mntungwa, through the ropes with just seconds left in their 10-rounder, the SABC TV footage showed. But when the referee intervened, Buthelezi became confused and began punching at air, in the opposite direction of his adversary.

The referee stopped the fight and awarded the victory to Mntungwa.

Doctors indicated that a “bleed on his brain” was behind Buthelezi’s confusion, although the fighter was “untouched” for most of the bout, ESPN reported.

“Another suspicion is that he may have suffered an injury before Sunday’s fight,” Dr. Buyi Mabaso-Dlamini said, per ESPN.

Buthelezi was a recent university graduate who studied zoology and botany.

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