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South African female boxer dies after KO loss

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Phindile Mwelase lapsed into a coma following her fight on October 10 and never regained consciousness.

Steve Biko Academic Hosptial
Steve Biko Academic Hosptial
By JMK (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Phindile Mwelase was knocked out by Liz Butler in round six of a contest scheduled for eight. Mwelase lapsed into a coma following the fight and was declared dead Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa.

Mwelase underwent surgery at Steve Biko Academic Hospital to stop a brain bleed. She was removed from life support last week and never regained consciousness.

Mwelase had a record of 0-2-1 going into her fight with Butler. Butler's record was 2-2-2 with both of her wins by knockout.

It's been a tough week for South African athletes, as Mwelase's death marked the third in four days. Runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car crash last Friday, and the goalkeeper for the national soccer team, Senzo Meyiwa, was shot by intruders over the weekend.

The first female boxer to succumb to injuries suffered in a sanctioned match was Becky Zerlentes, who passed away hours after fighting Heather Schmitz on April 2, 2005.