Johannesburg - Eastern Cape boxing trainer Bobbin Sityana has put the death of two of his boxers in stabbing incidents in a space of three years down to “bad luck”.
His flyweight charge Sinethemba Magibisela was stabbed to death at Ilitha, near King William’s Town, on Sunday night, a day after beating Mbulelo Nxazonke on points in a fight organised by Isizwe Boxing Promotions at the Willowvale Community Hall.
Magibisela (28) was reportedly celebrating the win with friends when tragedy struck.
According to Sityana, the boxer will be buried in Ilitha on Saturday.
In 2014, the mentor lost another flyweight pugilist, Mbulelo Mpendu, in similar circumstances. He was stabbed to death in a shebeen in Mdantsane, East London.
Mpendu was the son of the late Mveleli Luzipho, the former South African junior flyweight champion.
But it is the manner in which both boxers died that has worried Sityana. He believes he is bedevilled by bad luck.
“Both boxers were like sons to me and had great futures in boxing. They did not deserve to die this way. I am totally shattered and believe that this is bad luck on our part,” he said.
What disturbed him most was that Magibisela was killed a day after his bout was declared the best fight of the event.
“It was a warm-up fight for what was planned as a big fight for him in future. This is bad to lose two top boxers in such a horrible manner, at a time when I was grooming them to be top fighters”.
Sityana said Mpendu was attacked while on his way home late in the evening.
The trainer said that, although boxing had been unkind to him as a result of these incidents, he would soldier on with his other fighters.
Last week’s tournament was the first to be held at the venue after a boxer died from head injuries suffered in the ring there more than two years ago.
Lightweight Mzwanele Kompolo was rushed to Frere Hospital in East London after he collapsed in the ring following a knockout defeat to Siphenathi Qampi in 2015. Kompolo later died in hospital.
Incidentally, Magibisela’s death comes at a time when another fighter, super flyweight Mzuvukile Daniels from Port Elizabeth, is reportedly fighting for his life in Livingstone Hospital, also after being stabbed on Sunday evening.
Boxing SA (BSA) sent condolences to Magibisela’s family.
“This is a sad moment in the boxing fraternity. On behalf of BSA, we would like to dip our banners low in honour of the departed soul,” said BSA chief executive officer Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Magibisela’s death brings to the fore fighters who have died violent deaths outside the ring.
In 2005, former IBO flyweight champion Mzukisi “Laciar” Sikali was stabbed to death during an armed robbery while walking home to KwaNobuhle, on the outskirts of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.