Simiso Buthelezi became disoriented in the ring and began punching at air.
Frightening footage from a boxing match in South Africa went viral over the weekend which showed a fighter appearing to become disoriented in the ring and swing punches at an imaginary opponent.
Simiso Buthelezi, who was undefeated going into the fight with Siphesihle Mntungwa to contest the WBF African lightweight title in Durban, South Africa, appeared to be on the ascendancy in the 10th round of the title fight when he knocked Mntungwa through the ropes. Mntungwa gathered himself, though, and was cleared by the referee to return to action – before Buthelezi appeared to drastically lose his senses and was unable to locate his opponent in the ring.
Video footage from the alarming incident then shows Buthelezi throwing punches at thin air in the direction of the corner of the ring, and in a completely different direction to where Mntungwa was standing.
Very scary in South Africa please 🙏🏼 for Simiso Buthelezi (4-1). At 2:43 of the 10th & final round, Siphesihle Mntungwa (7-1-2) falls through the ropes but then Buthelezi appears to lose his understanding of the present situation. Mntungwa takes the WBF African lightweight title pic.twitter.com/YhfCI623LB
— Tim Boxeo (@TimBoxeo) June 5, 2022
The stunning turn of events prompted the referee to immediately call off the fight and award the victory to Mntungwa.
Buthelezi was subsequently transported to hospital where his condition was described as stable. It was also reported that he will remain under medical observation for several days.
“Sources share that Simiso Buthelezi is currently in stable condition in South Africa and in the next few days more will be learned as to what could have potentially caused a very scary and odd response in the ring,” read an update on the situation.
Reports from the scene also suggested that Buthelezi was cruising towards an easy points victory when the troubling situation began to unfold. Prior to the incident, Buthelezi had registered an unbeaten 4-0 record in the ring, though this latest reminder of the potential dangers that fighters go through in the ring is a grim reminder of how dangerous combat sports can be.