Former middleweight champion Dwight Ritchie has been killed in sparring after a complete anomaly caused him to collapse.
Ritchie was just 27 years old when he was unable to be revived from sparring with ex-Kell Brook opponent Michael Zerafa.
Training for his upcoming clash with Jeff Horn, Zerafa drafted in Ritchie for his camp, which has now gone horribly wrong. Ritchie himself was set to battle Tommy Browne on December 6.
Yet to comment on the situation, Zerafa is said to be distraught by what transpired.
Tributes to Ritchie, nicknamed ‘The Fighting Cowboy’ have flooded social media since the accident.
Promoter Jake Ellis was first to break the news.
“It is with great sadness and shock to announce that the fighting cowboy Dwight Ritchie sadly passed away today doing what he loved.
“As Dwight’s promoter and friend it’s unbearable to accept the tragic news that’s just surfaced.
“Dwight will always be remembered by the boxing fraternity as one of the brightest talents in Australia who’s fighting style embodied exactly how he lived.
“RIP Cowboy. You’ll be forever missed.”
Only a couple of days ago, experienced boxing man Lou DiBella warned WBN of the dangers even sparring poses.
It came on the back of four fighters being killed in 2019 alone. Maxim Dadashev, Hugo Santillan, Boris Stanchov and Patrick Day have all succumbed to injury since the summer.
DiBella said sparring was just as dangerous as the real thing.
“We must stop complaining if a fight is stopped by a doctor, referee or a corner. But then there’s sparring. Do they have to (spar)? – DiBella asked in an exclusive interview with World Boxing News.
“There’s no other sport were practicing for that sport is as dangerous as it is for the real thing.
“I’m not so sure whether guys constantly being the gym and sparring regularly. How much are they leaving in practice?
“Sparring can be just as dangerous as the fight. That’s certainly an issue that has to be looked into.”
DiBella was handling Day when he also passed away last month at the tender age of 27.
A full review into safety measures surrounding sparring and medial attention was called for by the New Yorker.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up by Ellis HERE.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay