- The worst-case scenario can occur within the squared circle for a sad minority
- 1,604 boxers died as a result of injuries incurred in the ring between 1890 and 2011
- There are at least 13 deaths per year in the ring
Every time a boxer boldly gets into the ring, they risk their own lives. With each ringside sounded, the bravest of boxers return home to be reunited with their loved ones.
However, the worst-case scenario can occur within the squared circle for a sad minority. Some people have died as a result of a career in prizefighting.
At an average rate of 13 deaths per year between 1890 and 2011, 1,604 boxers died as a result of injuries incurred in the ring between 1890 and 2011.
There were 233 boxing-related fatalities in the 1920s, compared to 103 deaths in the 2000s, according to the same study.
Here, we honor some of the brave fighters who died in the ring or as a result of injuries incurred during their fights in boxing’s long and storied past.
FRANKIE CAMPBELL VS MAX BAER (1930)
Frankie Campbell walked to the ropes after a second-round knockout of future heavyweight champion Max Baer was ruled a slip.
As soon as Baer stood up, he unleashed an enormous right punch that slammed into his opponent’s head.
He fought until the fifth round until the referee eventually intervened, after which he got a brutal thrashing from the Nebraska native.
Sadly, the injured combatant died in the hospital from a double cerebral hemorrhage hours after he was taken to the hospital. Bail was set at $10,000 for Baer after he was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter; however, the accusations against him were ultimately dropped.
Ref Toby Irwin and the corners of both competitors have been banned from the sport for a year.
DAVEY MOORE VS SUGAR RAMOS (1963)
Boxing’s “barbaric” reputation was cemented by Pope John XXIII’s condemnation of the sport after a fatality in the ring prompted Bob Dylan to write a song about it.
When Davey Moore was knocked down by Sugar Ramos in the 10th round of their featherweight title fight, he landed on his neck on the bottom rope, which was worrisome.
Despite the referee’s intervention, he managed to get up and finish the round.
Champion from Kentucky lost more than just his title after a grueling fight, which ended in him collapsing and passing away 75 hours later.
YOUNG ALI VS BARRY MCGUIGAN (1985)
Immediately after Barry McGuigan’s sixth-round stoppage victory over Young Ali, his hard-hitting Nigerian opponent went into a coma in London.
He was put on a life support system and later died at home with his pregnant wife, whose real name was Asymin Mustapha.
Clones’ former featherweight world champion stated decades later that he is still tormented by that night in London.
His victory over Eusebio Pedroza in 1985, when he was crowned champion, was dedicated to the memory of his former rival.
KIM DUK-KOO VS RAY MANCINI (1982)
A titanic battle between South Korean Kim Duk-koo and American Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini produced one of the most memorable battles in boxing history.
Immediately following the completion of the film, Kim fell into a coma and was sent to the hospital. Following an urgent surgery for brain damage, he was pronounced dead four days later.
In the wake of Mancini’s 14th-round KO victory, fighters’ health was a major consideration in deciding to shorten championship matches to 12 rounds.
ROMAN SIMAKOV VS SERGEY KOVALEV (2011)
Roman Simakov, a light-heavyweight contender, died after falling in the ring following his defeat by Sergey Kovalev in the second round.
In the wake of the Russian’s passing, Kovalev was devastated.
“The Krusher,” as he is commonly known, was quick to offer financial assistance to the widow of his assassinated opponent. But he has remained silent about the tragedy in the media.
It took “some time” for Kovalev to be convinced that it wasn’t his fault by his manager Egis Klimas, who was aware that Simakov’s family still hated him for what happened.
MIKE TOWELL VS DALE EVANS (2016)
Dale Evans stopped Mike Towell in the fifth round of a 12-round British welterweight championship eliminator in Glasgow.
He was immediately brought to the hospital where doctors determined that Towell had a major brain bleed and that his life would be cut short shortly thereafter.
“Heartbroken” Evans claimed that a meeting with Towell’s mother provided him with personal strength and comfort.
Despite the fact that there is no way to completely comfort the families affected by such tragic events, many in the sport, such as Ricky Hatton, helped to alleviate the financial strain on those left behind.
With donations from the boxing community and an online “Justgiving” website put up in the wake of Towell’s untimely death, the page raised almost £50,000.