Scott Westgarth went toe-to-toe in the boxing ring with Dec Spelman at Doncaster Dome at the weekend, with both athletes taking some brutal knocks to the head during the fight. While 31-year-old lightweight fighter Westgarth beat Spelman on points, he later fell ill backstage and was subsequently rushed to hospital.
Despite their best efforts, doctors weren't able to save the Sheffield-based fighter and he was pronounced dead. The exact cause of his death is still unknown.
Credit: Scott Westgarth/Instagram
His opponent was shocked by the sudden death, writing on Twitter: "Absolutely heartbroken and lost for words ail continue to pray for Scott's family and the people close to him rest easy my friend."
Following the news being announced on Saturday night, the Commonwealth light-welterweight title eliminator match featuring headliner Curtis Woodhouse was cancelled out of respect.
When Westgarth's condition was still unknown, people tweeted messages, hoping he would pull through.
Woodhouse wrote on Twitter: "Prayers are with Scott Westgarth this evening, sometimes with all the hype around boxing you forget how dangerous this sport is. My fight with @JWHIBBERT is irrelevant and means nothing compared to life. Fingers crossed Scott is ok."
Scott's promoter for the fight, Stef Bull, added: "Absolutely heartbroken tonight 30 years in boxing and its hit home how serious this so called sport is, I feel physically sick.
"I've got everything crossed that Scott Westgarth is ok if people actually realised what goes on behind the scenes brutal this game."
News of Westgarth's death was confirmed this morning, and tributes have poured through on social media from many within the boxing community.
Stefy posted a message saying: "To promote a boxing show and a young man doing a job he loves losing his life I have no words. RIP lad thoughts go out to your family and your team.
"It's been the hardest few days I've had to endure; no idea what to do moving forward."
Scott lost his debut fight in 2013 at the Concord Centre, Sheffield against Craig Nicholson. But he put that behind him and went on to win seven matches (including the win against Spelman) during his career.
The win against Spelman was particularly impressive considering his opponent had won his last six fights.
A 1995 article in the Independent suggests roughly 500 boxers have died in the ring or as a result of injuries sustained during a fight since the Marquis of Queensberry Rules came into force in 1884.
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