Boxing professionals and fans are paying tribute to Scottish boxer Mike Towell who died on Friday night after getting knocked out in a final eliminator fight for the British Welterweight Title.
Towell, 25, who has a record of 11 wins and one draw, was knocked out in the fifth round by his opponent Dale Evans during their fight at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday. According to the Daily Mail, Towell had also been dropped by his opponent in the first round of the fight.
After falling to the canvas unconscious in the fifth round, Towell was given oxygen and taken on a stretcher out of the ring. According to the Mirror, he was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Mike Towell’s manager Tommy Gilmour had announced that he was breathing through a ventilator at the hospital. He reportedly suffered swelling and bleeding to his brain.
Towell’s partner Chloe Ross, with whom he has a son named Rocco, announced his death on Facebook.
“Thank you all so much. I’m absolutely heartbroken to say my annoying best friend passed away tonight at 11:02 very peacefully,” she wrote.
Chloe revealed that Towell had been complaining about headaches for some weeks leading up to the fight. “But we put it down migraines with the stress of the fight,” she added.
According to Chloe, Towell was alive for 12 hours after he was taken off 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 and I’m so glad I got to spend eight and a half years with the absolute plonker,” she added.
After Towell was rushed to the hospital, Evans tweeted that he has put his celebrations on hold until he learns more about his opponent’s condition.
“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,” Evans wrote in a statement released later. “He is a true warrior who has brought such excitement to Scottish boxing.”
Since it was confirmed that Mike Towell has passed away, people have been paying tribute to him on social media.
Absolutely devastated by the passing of Mike Towell - all of our thoughts with his friends and family at this time— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) October 1, 2016
Sad to hear the news about Mike Towell. Thoughts go out to his loved ones ????????— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) October 1, 2016
RIP Mike towell people need to understand boxing is not a game 'sad moment for the sport God bless his family at this horrible time— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) October 1, 2016
Devastating news... RIP Mike Towell, my sincere condolences to his family...????????— Frank Bruno MBE (@frankbrunoboxer) October 1, 2016
Heartbreaking news that Mike Towell has lost his life. May he rest in peace, thoughts go out to his loved ones. #RIP— Shane McGuigan (@McGuigans_Gym) October 1, 2016
Dreadful news of the passing of Mike Towell. Thoughts and prayers with his family, friends and the boxing community tonight. #RIPIronMike— Roger Hannah (@Hannahnaman) September 30, 2016
Wow Mike Towell may you rest in peace and know that every fighting man has nothing but respect for you.— Tommy Coyle (@TommyCoyle89) September 30, 2016
Towell, who is also known as Iron Mike, hails from Dundee. He was the Light Middleweight Scottish and British Gold Masters Champion, according to his Facebook page. At least six of his 11 wins had come from TKOs.
British boxing authorities have not released any statement about Towell’s death.
The organizer of the fight, St. Andrews Sporting Club, has also released a statement announcing Mike Towell’s death. The statement said Towell died peacefully with his family around him.
According to the statement from St. Andrews Sporting Club, Towell’s manager Tommy Gilmour was at the hospital with the club’s director Iain Wilson.
“He was Iron Mike to the end, he kept fighting till the last and we have lost an exciting boxer but, more importantly, a very special man,” Gilmour said in the statement. “He was one of the greatest characters I have worked with. I came away from every phone call or chat we had smiling and shaking my head in bewilderment.”
In a promotional write-up for the fight between Towell and Evans, the club described Towell as having “produced some first class performances including his first round knock-out against Miguel Aguilar.”
“Mike’s great success has lead [sic] to this fantastic opportunity [the fight against Evans] which will take him one step closer to achieving his dream of being British Welterweight Champion,” added the write-up, which was signed by Colin Bellshaw and Iain Wilson, the directors of St. Andrews Sporting Club.
Meanwhile, The Sun has reported that Victor Loughlin, the referee who was in charge of the fight between Mike Towell and Dale Evans, had come under fire this year for failing to end a fight between two boxers that also ended with one of the fighters bleeding in his brain. The medic eventually stopped the fight between Chris Eubank Jr. and Nick Blackwell in March. The injury forced Eubank to end his boxing career.
However, Towell’s manager Gilmour has said there is nothing Loughlin could have done to prevent the “tragedy.” He added that he is not to blame for the fatal incident.
[Featured Image by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images]