Mwelase's tragic passing haunts Butler

It was tragedy at HTS Garden Hall in Pretoria when Phindile Mwelase was knocked down in the sixth round by Liz Butler and went into coma which she could not overcome and later died in hospital. Here doctor Solly Skosana (blue shirt), her trainer Stanley Ndlovu and a paramedic examined her. PHOTO: Pumeza Zinakie
It was tragedy at HTS Garden Hall in Pretoria when Phindile Mwelase was knocked down in the sixth round by Liz Butler and went into coma which she could not overcome and later died in hospital. Here doctor Solly Skosana (blue shirt), her trainer Stanley Ndlovu and a paramedic examined her. PHOTO: Pumeza Zinakie

Today marks two years since Phindile "Zulu Girl" Mwelase died following punishment in the boxing ring at HTS Garden Hall in Pretoria.

But the sight of her collapsing to her knees after being knocked down in the sixth round by Liz Butler on October 10 2014 is still vivid in Butler's mind.

That became clear as she battled tears during an exclusive interview with Sowetan yesterday.

Boxing South Africa did not deliver to the promise of organising counselling for her and female referee Pumeza Zinakile.

"My mother, my trainer [Charles Beckhouse], my stable mate [Danie Venter] and my pastor talked me over the tragedy, but it does not go away" she said.

The 46-year-old fitness trainer revealed, from her own gym in Pretoria, that she was organising a female boxing tournament in honour of Mwelase.

"It will take place at the Carousel, in Hammanskraal, on November 25, but I will not fight," said Butler, the aspiring champion.

"What happened to Phindile could have happened to me. She was giving it to me very hard until I caught her with that one punch."

Mwelase, from Ladysmith, was the aggressor until Butler connected her with a right to the head dropping her to the knees. She underwent a surgery to stem bleeding in the brain.

 

Mwelase - who turned 31 while fighting for her life in hospital - died after failing to emerge from a two-week coma.

"I was devastated when Charles told me that she had passed on," said Butler, who has since fought once and defeated Mapule Ngubane in June last year.

"I dedicated that fight to Phindile," said Butler.

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