British boxer dies after collapsing during pro debut

May 13, 2024
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British middleweight boxer Sherif Lawal died after collapsing during his professional debut on Sunday. 

Fight organizers announced his death, which came after the 29-year-old was hit on the temple in the fourth round by his opponent, Malam Varela, at London’s Harrow Leisure Centre. 

“Unfortunately during Sherif’s fight, he collapsed and despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he was later pronounced dead,” promoters Warren Boxing Management said in a statement, via Reuters. 

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boxing ring

A general view during the Tyson Fury v Derek Chisora Heavyweight Boxing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 3, 2022 in London, England.  (Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

“Warren Boxing Management would like to send our condolences to all of Sherif’s family, friends, coaches and all those close to him at this tragic time.”

The British Boxing Board of Control added: “The thoughts of all those involved in Boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time.”

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The fight between Lawal and Varela was the first on the card Sunday. They were scheduled to go six rounds in their bout. 

Boxing gloves in ring

A general shot of boxing gloves laying on a mat inside a boxing ring.  (Fernando Lavoz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It’s an unfortunate truth that deaths in a boxing ring are not uncommon. In 2019, New York native Patrick Day passed away after sustaining injuries during a 2019 match in Chicago. 

Day was knocked unconscious during the 10th round of his bout, and he slipped into a coma following brain surgery. However, he would never regain consciousness.

Charles Conwell, an Olympic boxer who Day was facing, said he “shedded so many tears because I couldn’t imagine how my family and friends would feel” in an open letter to Day and his loved ones while he was in a coma. 

Boxing gloves sit there

General view of three red BBE boxing gloves. (David Davies – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

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No additional details of Lawal’s death were disclosed. 

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