Scottish boxer Mike Towell has died in hospital despite “fighting to the end” after he was seriously injured in a bout.
The 25-year-old suffered a fifth-round loss to Dale Evans on Thursday night, in a fight at the Radisson Blu hotel in Glasgow and was taken to Queen Elizabeth university hospital.
Towell’s partner, Chloe Ross, said she was “absolutely heartbroken” to announce that the welterweight had died shortly after 11pm on Friday evening, 12 hours after he was taken off life support.
She said he “fought right to the end” after suffering severe bleeding and swelling to his brain during the fight which was an eliminator for the British welterweight title.
In a Facebook post on Friday she said Towell, who was from Dundee, had been complaining of migraines in the run-up to the fight but put it down to stress.
“I’m absolutely heartbroken to say my annoying best friend passed away tonight at 11.02 very peacefully,” she wrote.
“Michael had severe bleeding and swelling to his brain. He had been complaining of headaches for the last few weeks but we put it down to migraines with the stress of his fight.
“It has been the longest 24 hours of our lives. My baby has lost his daddy. But he will be so so proud of his dad in what he achieved.”
Towell’s family were at the boxer’s bedside in his final hours and are understood to have been joined by his manager, Tommy Gilmour.
“Once he was taken off of his life support he managed 12 hours, 12 whole rounds off his life support, he fought right to the end and he’s done us all so proud … He left doing the thing he’s best at … there’s only one.”
The couple had been together for more than eight years and had a young son, Rocco. Towell’s management are expected to release a statement on Saturday morning.
The British Boxing Board of Control, the sport’s governing body and licensing authority, has not yet commented.
Members of the boxing community paid tribute to the sportsman, known as “Iron Mike Towell”.
St Andrews sporting club, who staged the fight, said he would “always be in our hearts”.
A spokesman for the club said that nobody in Towell’s management team was aware of any headache problems leading up to the fight.
Greg Menzies, head coach at Dundee Boxing Club, said Towell would be sadly missed.
“We’re obviously devastated for him and his family,” said Menzies.
“It’s a small community so everybody’s really shocked. He was a really nice guy, always winding up people in a good way. He was a really good guy and he’ll be certainly missed.
“A lot of guys in our gym are gutted, as even though he was maybe from another club, he was still a Dundee guy and he trained at every gym and he got on with everybody.
He was one of Dundee’s top boxers so he was an inspiration for the young kids. We’re all gutted.”
Speaking of Towell’s boxing style, he added:
“He always gave 100%, he was always coming forward, there was no going back with him. He was a wee tough nut, he was just all heart.”
The trainer Shane McGuigan said on Twitter:
“Heartbreaking news that Mike Towell has lost his life. May he rest in peace, thoughts go out to his loved ones. RIP.”
Eddie Hearn, the boxing promoter, said:
“Absolutely devastated by the passing of Mike Towell – all of our thoughts with his friends and family at this time.”
Evans has not commented on his opponent’s death, but described Towell as a “true warrior” in a statement issued after he was taken to hospital.
“The ingredients were there for an entertaining fight and it was that, we are both punchers and so sadly for Mike he came out the wrong side,” he said.
“I never wanted to see my opponent being stretchered out of the ring. Who would ever want that sight? That was so hard for his family and my heart goes out to them.”
Towell had been undefeated going into Thursday’s fight, with 11 previous wins and one draw on his professional record. According to the BoxRec database of professional fights, Towell was knocked down in the first round of Thursday’s contest and again in the fifth prior to the stoppage.
The bout was refereed by Victor Loughlin, who was also in charge of the British middleweight title fight in March between Chris Eubank and Nick Blackwell, which ended the latter’s career after he suffered a bleed on the skull when he was stopped in 10 rounds.
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