GLASGOW, Scotland – A Scottish boxer has died after suffering severe bleeding and swelling to his brain during a televised fight.
Mike Towell, who was 25, had to be carried from the ring on a stretcher after a fifth-round loss to Dale Evans in Glasgow on Thursday.
Towell had been undefeated going into the fight — an eliminator for the British welterweight title — with 11 wins and one draw on his professional record.
Towell’s partner, Chloe Ross, said she was “absolutely heartbroken” to announce that he died Friday night, 12 hours after he was taken off life support.
Ross said the welterweight had been complaining of migraines in the run-up to the fight but put it down to stress.
“I’m absolutely heartbroken to say my annoying best friend passed away (Friday night) at 11.02 very peacefully,” Ross wrote on Facebook.
“Michael had severe bleeding and swelling to his brain. He had been complaining of headaches for the last few weeks but we put it down to migraines with the stress of his fight.
“It has been the longest 24 hours of our lives. My baby has lost his daddy. But he will be so so proud of his dad in what he achieved.”
Towell’s family were at the boxer’s bedside in his final hours.
“Once he was taken off of his life support he managed 12 hours, 12 whole rounds off his life support, he fought right to the end and he’s done us all so proud,” Ross said
Fight organizer, St. Andrews Sporting Club, said Towell “will always be in our hearts.”
Evans is yet to comment on his opponent’s death but described Towell as a “true warrior” in a statement issued after he was taken to the hospital.
“The ingredients were there for an entertaining fight and it was that, we are both punchers and so sadly for Mike he came out the wrong side,” Evans said.
“I never wanted to see my opponent being stretchered out of the ring. Who would ever want that sight? That was so hard for his family and my heart goes out to them.”.
The bout was refereed by Victor Loughlin, who was also in charge of the British middleweight title fight in March between Chris Eubank and Nick Blackwell, which ended Blackwell’s career after he suffered a bleed on the skull when he was stopped in 10 rounds.