Boxer, 29, dies after collapsing in the ring during professional debut – National

A 29-year-old British boxer died after he was knocked out during this first professional match.

Sherif Lawal, a middleweight boxer, collapsed in the ring at London’s Harrow Leisure Centre during his match against Portuguese opponent Malam Varela on Sunday. In the fourth round of the scheduled six-round bout, Lawal was knocked out by a blow to the head.

Paramedics were called in to the ring and tended to Lawal at the scene. The 29-year-old was then rushed via ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been made public.

The match between Lawal and Varela was the first on the card for the night. The rest of the event was cancelled.

The British Boxing Board of Control called Lawal’s death a “tragic passing.”

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“The British Boxing Board of Control sends their condolences to the family of Sherifdeen Lawal following his tragic passing after his Boxing contest on Sunday,” Robert W. Smith, general secretary of the board, wrote in a statement. “The thoughts of all those involved in Boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time.”

The promoters of the boxing match also confirmed Lawal’s death, posting an image of the late boxer to their Instagram page along with a message of support for Lawal’s loved ones.


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“Last night, Sherif Lawal was making his debut at a show at Harrow Leisure Centre,” the promoters wrote. “Unfortunately during Sherif’s fight, he collapsed and despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he was later pronounced dead.

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“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.”

Tragically, Lawal is just one of many boxers to die after being injured in the ring.

In 2019, a slew of high-profile boxing deaths led British brain injury charity Headway to call for a complete ban on boxing.

“Suggestions that boxers understand the risk, or that such tragedies are unpredictable are simply not credible. Young boxers are not provided with the information to make an informed choice,” wrote Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway.

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“So long as the ultimate objective of boxing is to render your opponent senseless by repeated blows to the head, then boxing will remain a dangerous activity.”

In 2019, 27-year-old U.S. boxer Patrick Day died four days after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a fight in Chicago. His opponent, fellow American Charles Conwell, penned an open letter after Day’s death, writing: “I never meant this to happen to you, all I wanted to do was win.”

“If I could take it all back, I would. No-one deserves this to happen to them,” he added.

That same year, 28-year-old Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev died, as well 23-year-old Argentinian boxer Hugo Alfredo Santillan.

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