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The untimely death of heavyweight fighting icon Kimbo Slice

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World Boxing News reflects on the death of Kimbo Slice six and a half years after the heavyweight fighting icon’s untimely death.

His real name being Kevin Ferguson, Slice died at the age of just 42 after embarking on an undefeated boxing career later in his life.

Before boxing professionally, Slice fought in the UFC on the back of making his name in underground backyard fist fights on YouTube.

During his UFC run, he lost to Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 before embarking on a 7-0 boxing career over the next three years.

Ferguson passed away at 7.30 pm local time on Monday, June 6, 2016, at Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida.

In their statement regarding Kimbo Slice, UFC said: “UFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Kevin Ferguson, known to fans worldwide as Kimbo Slice.

“Slice will forever be a part of UFC history as a contestant on season ten of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009. And for having fought twice inside the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter Finale and UFC 113.

“He carried himself as a true professional during his time in our organization.

“While we will never forget him for his fighting style and transcendent image. We will also remember Kimbo Slice for his warm personality. His commitment to his family and friends.

“UFC offers its sincere condolences to Slice’s family and friends. Also, his teammates at American Top Team.”

Kimbo Slice death

According to notes obtained from the hospital, Slice had been admitted complaining of severe abdominal pain and nausea, as reported by the Sun Sentinal.

Slice was diagnosed with heart failure and sent to the ICU. Sadly, his condition quickly deteriorated. He was then told he would need a heart transplant to survive.

As doctors were preparing to move Slice to a specialist facility in Cleveland and place him on the organ donor list, the former MMA star sadly lost his battle for life.

More details from the report stated no foul play was involved, although unfounded rumors of steroids surrounded Slice at the time.

On the Bellator 158 card, an appearance in London had been lined up for Slice opposite James Thompson despite testing positive for nandrolone after defeating ex-wrestler Ken Shamrock in February of that year.

A mass of tributes went out to the Bahamian-born KO specialist who scored highlight-reel knockouts at will during his career.

More details on the death of Slice, which came as a shock to everyone, were made after initial reports of a heart attack.

After competing in Bellator during his final months, CEO Scott Coker also released a statement.

“We are all shocked and saddened by the devastating untimely loss of Kimbo Slice. He was a beloved member of the Bellator family.

“One of the most popular MMA fighters ever, Kimbo was a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that transcended the sport.

“Outside of the cage, he was a friendly, gentle giant and a devoted family man. His loss leaves us all with extremely heavy hearts.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ferguson family and all of Kimbo’s friends, fans, and teammates.”

Boxing career

When signing a deal with promoter Gary Shaw, the iconic fighting figure competed seven times as a pugilist.

Slice went unbeaten, scoring six knockouts before returning to MMA.

A friend to WBN from the start of his boxing career in 2011, Slice was another dumbfounding loss in a long line of high-profile deaths in 2016.

Talking about his boxing efforts in 2011, Slice told World Boxing News: “I’ve been training hard for my next fight.

“You know, as far as titles are concerned, I’m really not sure. I guess that would be up to my promoter and trainer.

“All I know is that I have a lot of work to do until I reach that level. But I am loving boxing, and I am loving the work.”

A few months later, he brushed off talk of a potential fight with Roy Jones Jr.

“I’m in training for my next fight on October 6,” Slice told WBN when asked about the Jones rumor.

“I gotta stay focused. I haven’t done any interviews regarding it [the Jones talk] yet.”

With all the exhibitions floating around the sport these days, no doubt Kimbo would have wanted a piece of that action, even at 48.

He was a fighter through and through. Kimbo was a warrior to his core.

The fact he was still fighting months before dying of heart disease is a testament to the man’s stature.

Kimbo was larger than life and was shockingly taken far too early without fulfilling his life potential. He’s still missed.

Follow experienced boxing writer Phil Jay on Twitter @PhilJWBN. Follow WBN: Facebook, Insta, Twitter