While the boxing fraternity was reeling from the shocking death of Sinethemba Magibisela after a stabbing incident, South African bantamweight champion Toto Helebe was covering from a stabbing incident in Cape Town.
Magibisela was stabbed to death by unknown assailants at his Ilitha home near King William’s Town a day after a fight last month.
A few days later Helebe also nearly lost his life in a stabbing incident at Gugulethu township in Cape Town.
The boxer, who goes by the “Gugs Gang” moniker and hails from Cala in the former Transkei, allegedly tried to intervene in a quarrel between two youths when he got stabbed.
He was rushed to hospital where he had surgery and was released.
However, his conditioned worsened just when Helebe was preparing for his ring return in East London on December 10.
The boxer, who has made East London his happy hunting ground having fought in the city on numerous occasions, was scheduled to defend his SA title against Ronald Malindi in the main bout of Rumble Africa Promotions.
The fight was going to also feature an African Boxing Union crown.
But he has since withdrawn from the fight after doctors advised him to lay off training for two months until he completely heals.
“Yes we have been advised to lay off any physical training until the operation has healed,” confirmed the boxer’s manager Sinethemba Mandyoli.
Helebe produced a near-flawless performance in his last bout at Orient Theatre in East London in July when he beat tough challenger Cebo Ngema to retain his belt.
The fight was a rematch of their 2014 clash in Cape Town when Helebe was seen as being lucky to be declared a winner with some even alleging he benefited from hometown advantage.
Before the Ngema rematch, Helebe had built a solid reputation of being an Orient Theatre giant since he first introduced himself with a stunning knockout of local hero Phumzile Matyhila to wrest the SA bantamweight crown in 2012.
He fought six more times at the venue with only the first round knockout defeat by Thabo Sonjica in an IBO title challenge being his worst performance.
Mandyoli says the boxer was disappointed by the setback of having to pull out of the fight.
“Apparently we took the surgery thing lightly and did not adhere to its demands now we are paying the price.”
Helebe is among the scores of boxers who have been stabbed in the township.
His homeboy Lwando Molwana, who was also based in Cape Town but hailed from Mthatha, also lost his life in a stabbing incident.
Meanwhile, Rumble Africa Promotions is in a race against time to find a suitable replacement for the fight. — Boxing Mecca