Nkabiti's death adds to SA boxing's darkest hour

The local boxing fraternity woke up to the sad news that professional boxer Herbert Nkabiti passed away at the weekend.

The local boxing fraternity woke up to the sad news that professional boxer Herbert Nkabiti passed away at the weekend.

This comes a few days after the death of accomplished trainer Nick Durandt and former Boxing South Africa (BSA) chief executive Bongani Khumalo, who died two days apart.

Nkabiti, 36, died on Saturday night following a head injury during his junior welterweight non-title fight with Willis Baloyi at Carnival City near Brakpan a night before.

Nkabiti, a Botswana national, came to South Africa in 2009 looking for greener pastures because professional boxing in his country had not been permitted then. He was trained by Manny Fernandes.

BSA board member Peter Ngatane said they were saddened by Nkabiti's death.

"We [together with BSA chairperson Muditambi Ravele and CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka] have already met with the family regarding assisting where necessary. The boxer's death has actually left us devastated because we have just lost Bongani and Nick. May all their souls rest in peace," said Ngatane, who was present at Friday's tournament that was staged by Kalakoda Promotions. Before Friday's bout, Nkabiti had last fought in December when he defeated Goodman Zanempi in East London - Nkibiti's 10th knockout in 10 victories against two losses and a draw. Fernandes explained that his charge collapsed at the end of the sixth round.

"He said he could not breath, so we then removed his gloves and an ambulance took him to Sunwood Park Hospital in Boksburg. "A brain scan was done and he was moved to another hospital in Vosloorus at 3am on Saturday to get a neurosurgeon to operate on him. They said he bled into the brain," Fernandes said.

 

He said he visited Nkabiti on Saturday and the boxer was still alive. "We left but only to be shocked by a call from his uncle in the evening that he had passed on," Fernandes said.

Nkabiti represented Botswana at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and was a silver medallist at the 2007 All-Africa Games.

Khumalo was buried last week, while Durandt will be buried on Friday at the Lebanese Maronite Catholic Church in Woodmead at 1pm.

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