British Boxer Sheriff Lawal Dies After Getting KO'd in Professional Debut Match

Sherif Lawal
Sherif Lawal Instagram

British fighter Sherif Lawal died Sunday night after he collapsed during his debut professional match in the United Kingdom.

Lawal was fighting his first major bout at the Harrow Leisure Centre in a suburb northwest of London when the incident occurred, according to match promoter Warren Boxing Management.

Lawal Collapsed, Died After Being Knocked Down by Opponent

Referee Lee Every waved off the bout at Harrow Leisure Centre in round four, after Lawal was dropped by Portuguese opponent Malam Varela. Lawal was tended to by medics, who then transported the middleweight to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Warren Boxing Management extended its condolences to Lawal's friends and family in a statement posted to social media. "Unfortunately during Sherif's fight, he collapsed and despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he was later pronounced dead," the statement said.

The British Boxing Board of Control also confirmed Lawal's death in a statement Monday. "The thoughts of all those involved in Boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time," the board said.

Lawal was 29 years old, according to the BBC.

Deaths in the Ring are Not Uncommon

Additional details on Lawal's death have not yet been disclosed. This isn't the first time a boxer had died in the ring. American boxer Patrick Day died after sustaining injuries during a match in Chicago in 2019.

Day, a New York native, was knocked unconscious during the fight's 10th round and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He slipped into a coma following brain surgery and never regained consciousness.

Earlier that year, the Russian Boxing Federation announced the death of Maxim Dadashev after he sustained injuries in a match in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Trainer Buddy McGirt had the referee end the fight after Dadashev took repeated blows. Dadashev was hospitalized with brain swelling shortly after the fight, according to The Associated Press