Boxer Patrick Day has died after he sustained head injuries in a fight on Saturday night against fellow American Charles Conwell.
The 27-year-old was knocked out in the 10th round of his super-welterweight bout in Chicago and fell into a coma, with his promoter confirming Day’s death on Wednesday “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team”.
“He was a son, brother, and good friend to many,” said a statement from Lou DiBella.
“Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met. Patrick Day didn’t need to box. He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.
“He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”
Day was taken from the ring on a stretcher and underwent emergency brain surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after being knocked out in the final round of his fight on the undercard of Saturday night’s Oleksandr Usyk-Chazz Witherspoon show. The tragedy prompted Conwell to write an open letter to his fallen opponent which he posted Tuesday on Instagram.
“This is my last time speaking on the situation because of this being a sensitive topic not only for his family and friends but for myself and the sport of boxing,” Conwell said, before addressing Day directly.
“Dear Patrick Day,” Conwell wrote. “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. I thought about quitting boxing but I know that’s not what you would want. I know that you were a fighter at heart so I decided not to but to fight and win a world title because that’s what you wanted and that’s what I want so I’ll use you as motivation every day and make sure I always leave it all in the ring every time. #ChampPatrickDay. With Compassion, Charles Conwell.”
DiBella, who promotes both Conwell and Day, told ESPN on Tuesday night that he was moved to tears by the fighter’s expression.
“No one prompted him to write it – not his management and not his promoter,” DiBella said. “I know Charles is profoundly sad right now by what happened. I’m trying to make him realize it’s no fault of his. I read what he wrote and it put a tear in my eye. It was an incredibly human and honest and genuine response from a kid who is just 21. He’s a really good kid, a really good person. I think it was very obvious to both of them that they were both good guys. Charles’ letter was really touching. It screams of honesty and authenticity.”
Boxing has been gripped by tragedy this year after the deaths of three other fighters as a result of injuries sustained in competition.
The Argentinian junior welterweight Hugo Alfredo Santillan died in July, becoming the second fatality in four days after Russia’s Maxim Dadashev succumbed to injuries suffered in Maryland. Bulgarian featherweight Boris Stanchov died in September after injuries suffered during his pro debut in Albania, after which it was discovered he was fighting illegally under his cousin Isus Velichkov’s boxing license.