Botswana international junior welterweight boxer Herbert Nkabiti has died following a head injury suffered in South Africa on Friday night.
Nkabiti fought South African Willers Baloyi at the Big Top Beat Down Friday Fight Night at Carnival City, in a six-round international junior welterweight bout when he sustained the injury.
Nkabiti died in hospital in Vosloorus on Saturday evening. The tragedy is compounded when one considers Nkabiti was recently married and had a four-month-old child.
He had, in fact retired from boxing, but returned to the ring recently, ostensibly to make ends meet.
"When Herbert turned pro with me, he won 10 straight fights. He was a great fighter. But then her retired and only returned recently. But he was not quite the same fighter as before," his trainer Manny Fernandez of Gauteng's BRD Boxing Academy says.
"Friday night's fight was very tough but I thought Herbert was coming back into it when he took a big uppercut.
"He started complaining that he was struggling to breathe. He had to be sedated and rushed to Sunwood hospital in an ambulance. They did a scan and found an old hairline fracture on the skull.
"It was decided to move him to Thelle Mogoerane in Vosloorus [described as a new 'state of the art' facility]. My wife and I stayed with Herbert until six am, when his family arrived.
"His cousin called on Saturday evening to say he had passed away. It is very difficult to accept," Fernandez says.
"As a trainer, you hope and pray this never happens ... in 30 years in boxing, it is the first time I am experiencing something like this."
At the Commonwealth Games in 2006, Nkabiti lost to eventual winner James Russan, but followed that up by winning the junior welterweight silver medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games.
"He shall be remembered by all in boxing as a gentleman, a gallant boxer, a boxer whom will give his best at all times, a boxer that could both throw the heavy punches and could equally well pace himself to go the distance," said Steve Kalakoda on behalf of the Kalakoda Promotions team.