Siphesile Mntungwa has admitted that he contemplated taking his own life after his rival, Simiso Buthelezi, died after suffering major brain injuries in their recent African lightweight title fight. The latter became dazed after knocking Mntungwa through the ropes and went on to box an invisible opponent in the corner of the ring in distressing scenes before the bout was eventually waved off by the referee.

Doctors later informed media that Buthelezi would need a miracle to survive after suffering a bleed on the brain and facing difficulties in getting surgery, before his death was officially confirmed by Boxing South Africa in a statement on Wednesday. Mntungwa has since revealed that he has been struggling to deal with the fallout of the news after being branded a ‘killer’ in the wake of Buthelezi’s passing.

“I came into heavy criticism and received insults on social media platforms when Simiso was hospitalised; it has taken another level now that he has passed away,” Mntungwa told Sowetan Live.

“I just can’t take it anymore. One thing is left for me, I am going to kill myself. Even my neighbours have posted very ugly messages about me on social media.

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“I am no longer safe. I did not kill Simiso. We may have been involved in a boxing fight but it was not a matter of life and death.

“All I wanted was to win the title, which maybe was going to help change my life and that of my family. I am the only one working at home, where I stay with my young brother, my aunt and her children.

“My mother died when I was four, my father is still alive but we don’t stay with him. So, winning that title was going to help me financially. But people have branded me a killer. It could have been me.


“Without doubt Simiso’s family is going through pain like any other family. Simiso has just graduated [with a degree in botany and zoology].

“Who knows, his family may have even sold their cows to make sure he finished his studies. It is sad and very painful, but I did not go in that boxing with an intention to kill him.”

Buthelezi had an undefeated professional record of 4-0 before his clash against Mntungwa at the Greyville Convention Centre last weekend. Boxing analyst Tim Boxeo had tweeted that Buthelezi was ‘almost certainly’ on course to claim an impressive points victory before the fight was stopped by the referee in the latter stages of the 10th round.

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