Bloemfontein - Zola Koti, Sinethemba Bam’s trainer, has vowed not to return to the Mangaung Indoor Sports Centre in Bloemfontein because his boxers were affected by “bad luck” when they competed at the venue.
This follows an incident there last Friday in which Bam, who is from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, was rushed to hospital after being knocked out in the seventh round by the Free State’s Lerato Dlamini during their vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight youth title contest.
Remainder of fights
Bam put up a great show against the local hero in the first four rounds before being floored by Dlamini’s big right hook.
It took ringside doctors several minutes to revive Bam before he was carried off on a stretcher and sent to Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein for observation.
He was discharged three hours later and went back to the hall to watch the remainder of the fights.
Bam’s misfortune comes five years after his stablemate and homeboy Anele Makhwelo died four days after being knocked out in the ninth round by Doctor Ntsele during their South African flyweight championship fight in the same hall.
Makhwelo slipped into a coma at the end of the ninth round. He was taken to Bloemfontein’s Universitas Academic Hospital, where doctors discovered a blood clot in one of the arteries in his brain. He underwent emergency surgery to remove it, but he did not survive.
Koti told City Press a few days ago that he would not set foot in Mangaung again as the area had a “bad spell” on his boxers.
“I will never go to Mangaung again. I nearly lost a second boxer [Bam] after my first fighter [Makhwelo] died after fighting there,” said an upset Koti.
“I will not allow my boxers to fight at that venue any more because their fights do not end on a happy note.
“This is bad luck on our side; this place is not meant for us to compete. We’ll never go there again. How can you compete in a place where your fighters end up in hospital? The two incidents are enough for us.”
In his dressing room after the event, Bam said that he felt fine, but that he would no longer fight at that arena.
“They checked me at the hospital and said I wasn’t seriously injured. But I still feel a bit dizzy,” said Bam.
“After the big knockout punch, I don’t know what happened to me as I was in darkness. As for the place where I fought, I will never fight there again. It also brought back bad memories of my former stablemate Makhwelo,” said Bam.
His conquerer, Dlamini, who is trained by Colin Nathan, said he felt bad that he beat his opponent to the point that he had to be admitted to hospital.
“It’s good to win the fight and be crowned the new IBF youth champion, but it’s bad to get your opponent injured.
“I hope he is fine,” said Dlamini.