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Boxing fraternity bids Simiso 'Gandaganda' Buthelezi farewell

The funeral of boxer Simiso 'Gandaganda' Buthelezi was held at eDumbe Bilanyoni Sports Ground, in Paulpietersburg, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Mourners at the funeral of boxer Simiso 'Gandaganda' Buthelezi which was held yesterday in eDumbe Bilanyoni Sports Ground, in Paulpietersburg in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Zakhele Xaba

Published Jun 13, 2022

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Durban - THE boxing fraternity, family and friends gathered yesterday for the funeral of boxer Simiso “Gandaganda” Buthelezi.

The funeral was held at eDumbe Bilanyoni Sports Ground, in Paulpietersburg, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

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Buthelezi, 24, died in hospital last Tuesday after he collapsed during a bout in the Starline Boxing Promotions bill at Greyville Convention Centre in Durban on Sunday, June 5.

He fought in a 10-round World Boxing Federation All Africa lightweight fight against compatriot Siphesihle Mntungwa, but the contest was stopped by the referee when he appeared to shadow box an invisible opponent.

It was announced yesterday at the funeral that a tournament will be held in Buthelezi’s honour.

Zululand District mayor, Thulasizwe Buthelezi, said that the tribute matches will take place before the Zululand Municipality competes at the South African Local Government Association (Salga) games in Newcastle in December.

“All of you will be back here for the Simiso Buthelezi boxing tournament before the Salga games in Newcastle. Simiso’s name should never perish. He has lifted (the profile of) eDumbe, Zululand, and the whole of KZN,” said Buthelezi.

Fellow boxer and friend, Mduduzi Mzimela said he had secured Buthelezi a job and was waiting to tell him the good news after his match. “Now I regret not telling him, I thought it will

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distract him from his goal to win the belt. He was like a brother to me, we even shared clothes,” said Mzimela.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, who attended the June 5 event, said Buthelezi succumbing to his injuries came as a shock to everyone who had attended the tournament.

“We were hopeful that he will recover as he received medical attention at the tournament and was rushed to hospital. We were still expecting great things from Buthelezi as he was a very talented young man. His short record as a professional boxer shows that he had a bright future,” she said.

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Mavimbela said in the five matches he fought professionally he won four, and he was one of the boxers the department had hoped would bring back national titles for the province.

“However, God had other plans for him. Even though it may be hard but it was God’s will. As a province we have lost a fighter who showed potential of being one of the greatest boxers,” she said.

Mavimbela conveyed her condolences to the Buthelezi family and encouraged the tournament promoter to not lose heart.

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She added that boxing, like any other sport, had its dangers and she encouraged the coaches and everyone in the boxing fraternity to ensure that all rules and regulations were followed.

Meanwhile, Buthelezi’s opponent on the night of the injury, Mntungwa, said he was considering leaving the sport as he had received a backlash from people. “People swear at me as if I entered the ring with the intention to kill Buthelezi, however that is not true. From the time the news of his injury emerged people on social media have been saying terrible things to me. I am considering leaving the sport, I will sit down with my coach and family and hear what they say,” said Mntungwa.

Mntungwa said he had dreams to fly the South African flag high at international tournaments, and to even meet his hero in the sport, Floyd Mayweather, but now he was not sure of his future.

“The whole world has something to say about me, I don’t even leave the house anymore. I tried going to the shop and even though I had covered my face with a mask and sun glasses people still recognised me. They shouted and told everyone at the shop that ‘I hurt the boy’, I have stayed in my house since then. It hurts because I had no intention to harm him,” he said.

THE MERCURY

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KwaZulu-Natal

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