Phindile Mwelase’s death KOs boxing

2014-11-02 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The death of professional boxer Phindile Mwelase has again highlighted the fact that boxing is one of the most dangerous sports.

Born in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, on October 20 1983, Mwelase died last Saturday after being in a coma for two weeks.

She slipped into the coma after she was knocked out by Pretoria’s Liz Butler in the sixth round of their scheduled eight-round light-middleweight professional bout in Pretoria on October 10.

Mwelase was buried in Ladysmith yesterday.

She was the country’s first female boxer to die after an injury in the ring.

Mwelase’s death is a grim reminder of the reality of the fistic sport in the country and the dangers it poses, especially as more women become involved.

A look at statistics compiled by boxing historian Ron Jackson (see box) shows all the country’s fighters who died as a result of punishment in the ring were men, except for Mwelase.

Cricket SA’s medical committee head Dr Shuaib Manjra believes boxing should be banned.

“Boxing is a very dangerous sport where you have to knock out your opponent to win a fight. This means you should cause a concussion, which will lead to damaging your opponent’s brain. In my opinion, this sport should be banned,” said Manjra.

But Boxing SA board member and World Boxing Council medical adviser Dr Peter Ngatane differs.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say boxing should go because other sports are also dangerous.

“Women’s boxing in our country is still in an infancy stage. We can’t just start saying the sport must go now that someone has died,” said Ngatane.

He added there were many countries in Africa and other parts of the world where many women were involved in professional boxing.

There have been a number of boxing fatalities in South African rings over the years, dating back to the 1950s. Among the most notable fighters who died as a result of punishment in the ring were Jacob “Dancing Shoes” Morake and Brian Baronet.

Sowetan Morake was knocked out in the 11th round by Brian “Mean Machine” Mitchell during their SA junior-lightweight bout at the Sun City Superbowl in 1985.

Morake was rushed to hospital where he died a few days later from a brain injury.

Baronet was an enterprising Natal junior-welterweight pugilist who died in 1988 after he was knocked out by American Kenny Vice in Durban.

Baronet lay in a coma in hospital for three days before dying.

Victims of the ring

Boxing fatalities

1950 – Charles ‘Black Sjambok’ Sabe

1967 – Wiseman Lumkile


1969 – Nicholas ‘Lucky Boy’


1970 – Moses Ndlovu

1972 – Moses Mthembu

1975 – Simon ‘Razor’ Monamodi

1979 – Samuel Tshabalala

1980 – Bernard Zungu

1982 – Nceba Gobozi

1984 – Mongezi Mbengashe

1985 – Jacob ‘Dancing Shoes’


1988 – Brian Baronet

1990 – Dean Sawuti

1994 – Matthews Pule

1999 – Nzuzo Manyube

2000 – Mzwandile Mathole

2001 – Simphiwe Galada

2006 – Tally Disloane

2008 – Samora Msophi

2014 – Phindile Mwelase

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.