death in the ring

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Boxers from the Enothole Boxing Gym of S'Phatho Handi and the Eyethu Boxing Club of Mzimase Mnguni in Mdantsane will go for counselling to deal with the death of Samora "Laciar" Msophi.

The fighter died in his attempt to dethrone Mfundo Gwayana of his title as the South African junior flyweight king last Friday night.

Msophi, 25, who was trained by Boyboy Mpulampula in Handi's stable, took a pounding from the first round but soldiered on until he collapsed in the fourth round.

He was rushed to the Frere Hospital and later transferred to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital where he underwent an operation at 3am on Sunday morning to remove blood clots on his brain. He was reported dead at 9am on Monday.

Nkosinathi Joyi and Ludumo Galada are understood to be the boxers worst affected by the tragedy in Handi's gym.

"They were very close to Msophi, especially Joyi who sobbed uncontrollably and had to be taken to the doctor," said Handi who himself, found it difficult to deal with the sad fact that one of his charges was no more.

"It is sad. We've made arrangements that they all go for counselling," he said.

Handi doubles as a promoter and his Mamali Boxing Promotions was in charge of the aforementioned fight, the main supporting bout to Joyi's defence of the IBO mini flyweight belt against Mexican Sammy Gutierrez.

Handi, the bespectacled general secretary of the ANC in Eastern Cape, said the funeral will definitely be next week.

Mnguni, who guides the promising career of Gwayana, said his charge was not okay.

"He will go for counselling. This is one victory Gwayana will never enjoy. We all wanted a win, a clean one on points or knock out but not what it turned out to be.

"You must remember that Msophi was once my boxer. He got his nickname from Dudu Bungu who said Msophi's style of fighting was just like that of the late Mzukisi 'Laciar' Skali.

"I mean, even the clothes that Msophi wore last Friday night were those that were organised by us when he was still trained by Vuyani Bungu and Champion Bakubaku, who guided him to five wins," said Mnguni.

Msophi and Gwayana were homeboys in Mdantsane.

The last boxer to die of injuries was Tally Disoloane on December 16 2006. The "Green Mamba" missed with a punch aimed at Thompson Mokwana, went through the ropes and hit the floor with his head on October 6 2006.

He remained in a coma and never recovered.