Boxing bosses have moved to defend the sport’s safety measures after British fighter Scott Westgarth died in hospital following his light-heavyweight clash on Saturday.
The 31-year-old appeared in pain during the aftermath of his points victory over Dec Spelman in their eliminator bout before falling ill backstage at the Doncaster Dome and being attended to by paramedics.
Westgarth, a former ski instructor who was more recently working as a chef, was then taken to the Royal Hallamshire hospital where he passed away in the early hours of Sunday.
“I’ve spoken to the doctors and officials in charge and I am satisfied with the procedures,” said British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith.
“I think boxing in this country has changed remarkably with regards to medical procedures over the last 20-30 years. 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.
“We don’t go into this sport with our eyes closed and we know how dangerous it can be. 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.”
Former light-welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton joined current fighters Anthony Crolla, Carl Frampton and Kell Brook in paying tribute to Westgarth.
Canada’s Tim Hague was the previous professional boxer to die following a fight, having been knocked down five times in the opening two rounds of his showdown with fellow countryman Adam Braidwood in June.
The last British boxer to suffer such a fate was Scotland’s Mike Towell, who suffered brain injuries and passed away in September 2016, a day after fighting Dale Evans.