Herbert Nkabiti fought in a tournament at Carnival City on Friday. Photo: Yobe Shonga, www.dailynews.gov.bw

CAPE TOWN – A second tragedy has struck South African boxing in the space of a week following the death of junior-welterweight Herbert Nkabiti on Saturday night at the Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg.

Just a week ago, the boxing fraternity was mourning the death of renowned trainer Nick Durandt, who died in a motorcycle accident.

Nkabiti, a Botswana national who has been on the SA pro circuit for several years, suffered a head injury during his bout against Willis Baloyi at Carnival City near Brakpan on Friday night.

The Carnival City tournament promoters, Kalakoda Promotions, issued a statement on Sunday evening announcing Nkabiti’s passing.

The statement, in part, reads: “Herbert Nkabiti competed at the Carnival City Boxing event on Friday. He fought against Willis Baloyi and it was an action-packed bout right from the start.

“Late in the sixth and final round, Baloyi landed a flurry of punches. Nkabiti went down and was counted out.

“Nkabiti was in a trance-like state while getting back to his feet, and collapsed as he was placed down on the ringside stool in his corner.

“The two ringside doctors, including Dr Ngatane – who supervised the ABU Championship and paramedics – did all they could to help Nkabiti and afterwards, he was taken to the Sunward Park Hospital.

“On arrival, Nkabiti went into a coma.

“Nkabiti’s trainer Manny Fernandez and his stablemates, the promoter Steve Kalakoda, some of the co-promoters and BSA Operations Director Cindy Nkomo stayed at the bedside of Nkabiti during the early part of Saturday.

“On Saturday, Nkabiti showed minor improvement, breathing on his own and some swelling release. However, just after 8pm on Saturday, Nkabiti passed away.”

Nkabiti, 36, had a distinguished amateur career and won a silver medal at the All Africa Games in 2007 in Algiers. He turned pro two years later, and at the time of his passing, his 14-fight record showed 10 wins (all by KOs), three losses and a draw.

Jeremy Bean, a co-promoter at Kalakoda Promotions, said Nkabiti was a gentleman and a gallant boxer who gave his best at all times. “He was a boxer that could throw both the heavy punches and could equally well pace himself to go the distance,” said Bean.

Nkabiti, who was born in Kanye, a town in southern Botswana, last fought in December 2016 when he recorded a second round TKO win over Goodman Zanempi at the Mdantsane Indoor Centre in East London.

Kalakoda Promotions are looking to stage a tribute event in Gaborone in July.

African News Agency (ANA)