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The opponent of the boxer who passed away following a brain injury that left him swinging at thin air, has admitted to having suicidal thoughts following streams of abuse.
On Sunday, fans feared for Simiso Buthelezi after footage emerged of him throwing punches at an invisible opponent during his fight with Siphesihle Mntungwa for the WBF African lightweight title.
Buthelezi knocked Mntungwa down in the tenth round and sent him through the ropes.
But Mntungwa got back to his feet and then in a shock, frightening turn of events, a dazed Buthelezi started swinging at nobody.
Mntungwa went over to resume trading punches at first but the referee immediately waved off the contest and Buthelezi was then taken into a coma, before it was confirmed that he had tragically passed away at the age of 24 on Tuesday.
🔴 Rest In Peace Simiso Buthelezi.. 🔴— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) June 8, 2022
Tragic news of our Boxing sensation....
Hamba kahle Shenge.
Mntungwa had celebrated winning the title by performing Cristiano Ronaldo's 'SIUUUU' celebration.
But he has been left in a bad way following the death of his opponent and has revealed he has received abuse on his social media accounts and even labelled a "killer".
It has taken the toll on the champion, who gave a worrying interview where he talked about killing himself.
"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," he told Sowetan Live, as per the Daily Mail.
"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. 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. 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."
Mmeli Mkhize, who trains Mntungwa, has said no one from the team will attend the funeral out of fear.
Boxing South Africa, meanwhile, have confirmed they will conduct an independent medical review of the injury before making the results public.
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