Boxing injuries that left boxers in Critical condition or dead including Kenya’s own Robert Wangila

By Brian Murumba: Thursday, May 9th 2019 at 11:41 GMT +3 | Boxing
Amir Khan [Courtesy]

Boxing is a sport that has been in existence since time immemorial and has won the hearts of many through time. It is a sport that is loved by many across the world especially after the emergence of famous boxers like the late Mohammed Ali, Kenya’s late Robert Wangila, Mike Tyson and recently Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

The sport, however, has its own negative impact on the boxers. When a boxer steps into the ring, he/she is at risk of sustaining a serious head injury since that is where most of the blows are aimed for maximum points. Over the years, the sport has claimed many lives despite the Marquess of Queensberry Rules being introduced in 1867.

The rules make up a code on which modern boxing is based, they were the first to mandate the use of gloves in boxing. Despite the use of gloves, concussions and other head injuries remain the order of the day in boxing.

In Kenya, the recent story of a young man who suffered head injuries has touched the hearts of many. Bradlyne Shitakwa is reportedly waiting for medical attention after he suffered head injuries during a boxing event at the Charter hall.

The family now claim that they have been abandoned by the John Kameta led BAK. However, Shitakwa isn’t the only one to have suffered these kinds of injuries.

Game Yetu looks at other injuries sustained by professional boxers starting with Kenya’s own Robert Napunyi Wangila.

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Robert Napunyi Wangila 1994

When it comes to sports, Kenya is legendary around the world for its gold-winning athletes. But there is a Kenyan son who made the nation proud by making history when he won a gold in boxing. s of 2016, he is the only Kenyan Olympic gold medal winner outside athletics and the only boxer from Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa to have won Olympic gold.

He punched his way to fame in the late 1980s but died young following a knock out against David Gonzales. Spectators and boxing experts at the Aladdin Hotel said Wangila seemed to have been winning the match, but the tide had started shifting and referee Joe Cortez stopped the match in the ninth round in favour of Gonzales to Wangila’s protests.

Wangila had sustained an injury and he collapsed. Robert Voy, the ringside physician, said after the post-fight examination in the ring, Wangila was very alert and responded normally. However, he fell into a coma in the dressing room. Doctors at the University Medical Centre later said that he had a blood clot on the right side of his head. He was operated on before passing on 36 hours after the match.

Jimmy Doyle 1947

American welterweight boxer died of brain injuries in 1947, 17 hours after being handed a knock out by rival Ray Robinson in a world Welterweight title fight. His injuries seemed to have been brewing since he suffered a severe concussion in an earlier fight against a different opponent.

Michael Bentt 1994

Michael Bentt, collapsed after losing the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title to Herbie Hide, He suffered significant injuries to the brain. The British-born boxer collapsed in his dressing room shortly after a fight and was taken to Royal London Hospital. He however survived and went on to build a successful acting career in acting.

Bradley stone 1994

The British bantamweight Bradley Stone died from a massive blood clot on the brain after losing to Richie Wenton at the New York Hall.

Stone collapsed at his girlfriend’s house before being rushed to the hospital. The doctors tried to save the 23-year-old by operating to remove the massive clot on the left side of his brain but he died hours later.

Felix Bwalya 1998

The Zambian boxer died nine days after being knocked down three times in the final rounds of a Commonwealth title clash with Britain's Paul Burke.

Gerald McClellan 1995

The American fell into a coma after being knocked down by Nigel Benn in a WBC super-middleweight title fight in London in 1995. He was hospitalised for two months and lost his sight in the process.

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