World title challenger Mario Melo chokes to death on TV
Mario Melo, former South American heavyweight champion, has died in a tragic choking accident.
Participating in a televised event where contestants attempted to eat the most medialuna (Argentine croissants), Melo got into trouble on his third pastry.
The 56 year-old collapsed before helpers and a doctor frantically tried to save him.
A video was taken of the incident from the crowd and later broadcast on Argentine news.
It shows many people performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, whilst some hoped to dislodge the croissant manually.
Attempts were to no avail as Melo succumbed to the fact his windpipe was completely blocked.
Sister Aida told reporters her brother was rushed to Pinamar Hospital but was pronounced dead sooner after.
Melo fought Michael Moorer for the light-heavyweight world title back in 1990. The fight came six months after Melo’s first defense of the Argentine 175 pound crown.
Moore ended the fight in just 112 seconds as Melo struggled with the magnitude of the step-up.
The southpaw retired for three years before emerging as a heavyweight.
Challenging for the South American championship in his first outing, Melo was defeated by former George Foreman and Evander Holyfield victim, plus two-time Johnny Nelson conqueror Adilson Rodrigues.
Two more years out of action followed before Melo returned triumphantly to win the belt on the back of two comeback victories in April 1997.
Losing in his next outing to Tony Tubbs, Melo retired for good two further defeats later in 1998.
Much revered in his home nation, Melo will be sorely missed after what was a truly shocking turn of events.
Incident video clip by Crónica TV