US boxer Patrick Day dies after sustaining brain injury in fight
Patrick Day, the boxer who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fight on Saturday, has died, his management company announced.
Day, 27, reportedly died Wednesday at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was taken after collapsing in the ring at the city's Wintrust Arena, after a fight against Charles Conwell.
The management company, DiBella Entertainment, said Day died "surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team, including his mentor, friend and trainer Joe Higgins." The company previously confirmed reports that Day was in a coma and underwent emergency brain surgery.
Day was knocked down in the fourth and eighth rounds of the bout before several punches to the head from Conwell again sent him to the canvas in the 10th and final round. Day was attended to by medical personnel before he was taken from the arena on a stretcher. He was reported to have remained unconscious, and suffered seizures as an ambulance transported him to the hospital.
"It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this," DiBella Entertainment 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.
"This is a way we can honor the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick's 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us. Rest in peace and power, Pat, with the angels."
On Tuesday, the 21-year-old Conwell posted a lengthy message to social media about Day. A 2016 Olympian, Conwell said he considered quitting boxing but decided that wasn't what Day, as "a fighter at heart," would want.
"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," Conwell wrote. "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."
Day posted a record of 17-4-1 after starting his professional career in 2013. He won the World Boxing Council Continental Americas championship in 2017 and the International Boxing Federation Intercontinental championship this year, according to DiBella Entertainment. Before that, he was a 2012 New York Golden Gloves winner at 152 pounds and was an alternate that year for the U.S. Olympic team.
Day's trainer, Joe Higgins, was not immediately available for comment. He recently told ESPN that Day grew up across the street from him in Freeport, New York, and wandered over as a 14-year-old to try out the punching bag hanging in the trainer's garage. Higgins soon had Day enrolled at the local Police Athletic League gym.
"I feel like I'm responsible, like I let him down," Higgins told ESPN. "My special kid."
In its statement, DiBella Entertainment described Day as a "a dedicated college student," who earned an associate degree and a bachelor's degree.
"Patrick Day didn't need to box," the statement said. "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's death is the latest in a string of recent fatalities in the sport. Maxim Dadashev, a 28-year-old Russian, died in July, after a fight at MGM National Harbor casino in Oxon Hill, Maryland. And 23-year-old Hugo Santillan reportedly suffered cardiorespiratory failure after fighting to a draw in his native Argentina days after Dadashev's death.
A Bulgarian boxer, Boris Stanchov, reportedly died in the ring in September during a fight in Albania. The WBC initially posted a message mourning the loss of another boxer, Isus Velichkov, but according to reports, Velichkov came forward and said Stanchov was a relative who had been fighting under his license.