South Africa

Nkabiti’s death opens up old wounds

2017-05-07 13:00
Life cut short: Herbert Nkabiti. (Botswana Daily news)

Johannesburg - Former two-time world champion Brian “Mean Machine” Mitchell says Herbert Nkabiti’s death has brought back bad memories of seeing his own opponent, Jacob “Dancing Shoes” Morake, die a day after sustaining a head injury during their bout almost 32 years ago.

Morake was knocked out in the 12th round of their South African junior lightweight title contest at the Sun City Superbowl in 1985 and did not regain consciousness.

Nkabiti (36), from Botswana, collapsed at the end of the sixth round in a light welterweight non-title bout against Willis Baloyi at Carnival City in Brakpan last Friday.

He was rushed to Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg, where a blood clot in his brain was detected.

He was then transferred to a government hospital and died the next day.

Difficult situation

Mitchell said Nkabiti’s death devastated him because it opened up old wounds.

“This fight has brought back bad memories because I knocked out Morake in the 12th round. It’s sad that [Nkabiti] also went down in the final round and also died a day after the incident,” said Mitchell.

“I thought I had forgotten about the Morake incident. Now this fight has reminded me of the difficult situation I was in at the time my opponent passed on.”

But Mitchell, who previously held the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation junior lightweight titles, said life had to go on.

He believes that boxers should protect themselves at all times during fights.

“Boxing is a dangerous game and protection is the key. It’s a pity we’ve lost yet another life in the ring.”

Nkabiti, who was best known for winning a silver medal in the light welterweight division at the 2007 All-Africa Games as an amateur, was trained by Manny Fernandes.

“He came to Joburg in 2009 and was a very talented fighter. He had 11 fights since joining our stable. It’s sad that his life had to be cut short while he was doing what he loved most,” said Fernandes.

Promoter Virgil Kalakoda, who organised last week’s showdown, said he was planning to stage a tournament in Gaborone on July 28 to honour Nkabiti in his home country.

“All the proceeds of the event will go to his family. We’re also planning to stage a corporate golf day for him on July 29. All the money collected at the event will also be given to his family,” said Kalakoda.

Baloyi has been quoted saying he is “very sorry” about the death of his opponent.

Punishment in ring

The death of Nkabiti comes almost three years after Phindile Mwelase died after being knocked out by Liz Butler in the sixth round of their scheduled eight-round light middleweight bout in Pretoria on October 10 2014.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, a sports medicine specialist in Rondebosch, Cape Town, said Nkabiti’s death may have been caused by bleeding of the brain.

“It’s likely that he may have bled on the brain as a result of the punishment he received. That’s very dangerous,” said Manjra.

“Like many other sports, boxing is dangerous, but I’m not in any way suggesting it should be banned,” he said.

Statistics provided by boxing historian Ron Jackson show that aside from Mwelase, all of the country’s fighters who died as result of punishment in the ring were men.

Nkabiti was buried in Botswana yesterday.

TALK TO US

What do you think should be done to stop ring fatalities?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword BOXING and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

Read more on:    ibf  |  wba  |  johannesburg  |  boxing
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Floyd 'Money' Mayweather v Conor 'The Notorious' McGregor ... who've you got in Saturday's mega fight?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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