Boxer Dies After Professional Debut

Sherif Lawal had taken a blow to the temple before collapsing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2024 2:00 AM CDT
Boxer Dies After Professional Debut
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Daniel Tadevosyan)

Sherif Lawal was fighting in his professional boxing debut match Sunday night when the British fighter collapsed. The 29-year-old could not be revived and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, the BBC reports. Lawal had been knocked to the ground by Portuguese opponent Malam Varela in the fourth round of the middleweight bout in London before his collapse. Lawal's cause of death has not been revealed, but ESPN reports he'd taken a blow to the temple before he collapsed. Ringside medical professionals performed CPR for 10 minutes before Lawal, who started boxing in 2018, was taken to the hospital, TMZ reports.

NBC News calls deaths in the ring a "not uncommon" aspect of the full-contact combat sport. In 2019, US boxer Patrick Day suffered a traumatic brain injury that led to brain surgery, after which he slipped into a coma and later died. His opponent was devastated: "I can't stop thinking about it myself I prayed for you so many times and shedded so many tears because I couldn't even imagine how my family and friends would feel," he wrote in an open letter. Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev died that same year after taking repeated blows during a match in Maryland. (More boxing stories.)

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