Fourth Boxer Dies in Three Months

Patrick Day died four days after suffering a traumatic brain injury in his fight against Charles Conwell

Patrick Day (L) lands a punch on Charles Conwell in the first round of their Super-Welterweight bout at Wintrust Arena on October 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Patrick Day (L) lands a punch on Charles Conwell in the first round of their Super-Welterweight bout at Wintrust Arena on October 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 17, 2019 10:46 am

Boxer Patrick Day died Wednesday (Oct. 16) as a result of brain injuries sustained during his knockout loss to Charles Conwell on Saturday night, promotor Lou DiBella confirmed. The junior middleweight was 27.

Day went down in the 10th round, and the back of his head slammed violently onto the canvas as he fell. Referee Celestino Ruiz immediately stopped the fight, and Day was taken out of the ring on a stretcher. He never regained consciousness, and he later had a seizure, lapsed into a coma and underwent emergency brain surgery.

“On behalf of Patrick’s family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury,” DiBella said in a statement. “He was a son, brother, and good friend to many. Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”

Conwell has publicly expressed his guilt over knocking out Day. Two days before Day’s death, Conwell posted an open letter to him on social media, writing, “I never meant for this to happen to you. All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would. No one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you. 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. I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you.”

Day is the fourth boxer to die from injuries sustained in the ring in just three months. On July 19, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev passed away three days after a fight, and less than a week later, Argentina’s Hugo Alfredo Santillan died after collapsing in the ring while judges were announcing a draw. On Sept. 21, Boris Stanchov of Bulgaria died after his debut match.

There’s no doubt that boxing is dangerous, and DiBella called for action after Day’s death. “It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” he said. “This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action. While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.”

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