Professional boxer dies after collapsing in front of horrified crowd during his debut fight

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By Asiya Ali

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A British boxer tragically died after collapsing during his professional debut.

London-based boxer Sherif Lawal made his professional debut against Portuguese opponent Malam Varela at Harrow Leisure Centre on Sunday (May 12).

According to The Guardian, the 29-year-old was knocked out during the fourth of a six-round middleweight bout by his opponent and lost consciousness.

The match referee began the knockout count but immediately called time after realizing the extent of the boxer’s condition, as reported by News.com.au.

London-based boxer Sherif Lawal died after collapsing during his professional debut. Credit: Dmytro Aksonov / Getty

Paramedics at the scene tended to Lawal, who was transported to Northwick Park Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

An onlooker who witnessed the tragic scene unfold told News.com.au: "It’s unbelievably sad. This was his pro debut - he has died while chasing his dream."

“His fight was first on the card, but the event was canceled and the remaining three fights scrapped after Sherif was taken to hospital. That tells you how serious it was," they continued. “He was hurt at the end of round three."

"He then came out for the fourth and final round with his guard up, and took a right to the temple," they said, adding Lawal "dropped to his haunches" which led to the referee starting the count and the ambulance arriving.

"Doctors arrived and worked on him in the ring for about 20 minutes, including CPR and the use of a defibrillator," the witness shared. “This was in front of a packed house, and everyone was in total shock."

“Sherif was then taken away on a stretcher before news came through later that he had passed away. This is very rare. All care is taken to ensure the safety of fighters but in a sport like boxing these things occasionally happen. However, that doesn’t make it any less devastating," they concluded.

Heartfelt tributes have rolled in since the heartbreaking news of the young athlete's passing.

Warren Boxing Management shared a statement on their Instagram which read: “Last night, Sherif Lawal was making his debut at a show at Harrow Leisure Centre, in which our boxer Courtney Bennett was scheduled to fight.

“Unfortunately during Sherif’s fight, he collapsed and, despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he was later pronounced dead," they continued. “Warren Boxing Management would like to send our condolences to all of Sherif’s family, friends, coaches, and all those close to him at this tragic time.”


In a statement provided to The Independent on Monday (May 13), the British Boxing Board of Control penned: “The British Boxing Board of Control sends their condolences to the family of Sherifdeen Lawal following his tragic passing after his Boxing contest on Sunday, 12th May 2024. The thoughts of all those involved in Boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time.”

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (Biba) also added: “All at Biba would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family of Sherif Lawal, who sadly passed away after his contest with Malam Varela at the weekend. Our thoughts are with all concerned.”

The fight was the first on the card, with the event then canceled.

Our thoughts are with Lawal's family and friends at this devastating time.

Featured image credit: Photo and Co / Getty

Professional boxer dies after collapsing in front of horrified crowd during his debut fight

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

A British boxer tragically died after collapsing during his professional debut.

London-based boxer Sherif Lawal made his professional debut against Portuguese opponent Malam Varela at Harrow Leisure Centre on Sunday (May 12).

According to The Guardian, the 29-year-old was knocked out during the fourth of a six-round middleweight bout by his opponent and lost consciousness.

The match referee began the knockout count but immediately called time after realizing the extent of the boxer’s condition, as reported by News.com.au.

London-based boxer Sherif Lawal died after collapsing during his professional debut. Credit: Dmytro Aksonov / Getty

Paramedics at the scene tended to Lawal, who was transported to Northwick Park Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

An onlooker who witnessed the tragic scene unfold told News.com.au: "It’s unbelievably sad. This was his pro debut - he has died while chasing his dream."

“His fight was first on the card, but the event was canceled and the remaining three fights scrapped after Sherif was taken to hospital. That tells you how serious it was," they continued. “He was hurt at the end of round three."

"He then came out for the fourth and final round with his guard up, and took a right to the temple," they said, adding Lawal "dropped to his haunches" which led to the referee starting the count and the ambulance arriving.

"Doctors arrived and worked on him in the ring for about 20 minutes, including CPR and the use of a defibrillator," the witness shared. “This was in front of a packed house, and everyone was in total shock."

“Sherif was then taken away on a stretcher before news came through later that he had passed away. This is very rare. All care is taken to ensure the safety of fighters but in a sport like boxing these things occasionally happen. However, that doesn’t make it any less devastating," they concluded.

Heartfelt tributes have rolled in since the heartbreaking news of the young athlete's passing.

Warren Boxing Management shared a statement on their Instagram which read: “Last night, Sherif Lawal was making his debut at a show at Harrow Leisure Centre, in which our boxer Courtney Bennett was scheduled to fight.

“Unfortunately during Sherif’s fight, he collapsed and, despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he was later pronounced dead," they continued. “Warren Boxing Management would like to send our condolences to all of Sherif’s family, friends, coaches, and all those close to him at this tragic time.”


In a statement provided to The Independent on Monday (May 13), the British Boxing Board of Control penned: “The British Boxing Board of Control sends their condolences to the family of Sherifdeen Lawal following his tragic passing after his Boxing contest on Sunday, 12th May 2024. The thoughts of all those involved in Boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time.”

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (Biba) also added: “All at Biba would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family of Sherif Lawal, who sadly passed away after his contest with Malam Varela at the weekend. Our thoughts are with all concerned.”

The fight was the first on the card, with the event then canceled.

Our thoughts are with Lawal's family and friends at this devastating time.

Featured image credit: Photo and Co / Getty