British boxing has been rocked with news that boxer Scott Westgarth has died in hospital after falling ill in the wake of his light-heavyweight fight in Doncaster on Saturday.
Westgarth, 31, won the eliminator bout on points against Dec Spelman, but appeared to be in pain during post-fight interviews and was rushed to hospital after falling ill backstage.
Ahead of Saturday’s fight where he came in as the underdog his previous record was six wins, two losses and a draw.
The news was announced by Westgarth’s promoter for the weekend fight, Stefy Bull, who said the boxer was “a young man doing a job he loves”.
Westgarth’s opponent on the night, Spelman, also paid his tribute, saying he was ‘heartbroken’ and would continue to ‘pray for Scott’s family and the people close to him’.
Following news of Westgarth’s death, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) reiterated that it has improved safety in the sport.
“We do appreciate that this is a tough sport and we try to make it as safe as possible but that’s not always the case,” general secretary of the BBBofC, Robert Smith, told the BBC.
“It’s a very small sport, really. We are a little family and when things go wrong, we do all stick together. We don’t go into this sport with our eyes closed and we know how dangerous it can be.
“I’ve been a boxer and I would still do it tomorrow, if I could. This is a terrible time for the sport and the family and I can’t say anything that will make anything better. We’ve got to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again but we know and I know deep down there is a possibility it will.”
Canada’s Tim Hague was the last professional boxer to die from a fight, two days after a bout last June.