Image Cred: theguardian.com
When Patrick Day and Charles Conwell faced each other on Saturday 12th October, it was supposed to be one of the most memorable nights of their lives so far. Both fighters had been working their way up the super welterweight rankings, both fighters held minor titles, and victory in this match was another step closer to a world title fight.
However, the night was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Conwell won with a tenth round knockout, but Day suffered a traumatic brain injury in the process. Despite the quick reactions of ringside doctors, who administered oxygen to the fighter instantly, he was put into a medically induced coma and sadly died four days after the fight, aged just 27 years old.
It can be argued some boxers pursue the sport to elevate themselves from poverty. Others do so to give their lives direction, and to avoid falling into a life of crime. Many are motivated by a desire for both. It has been widely noted that Patrick Day held a university degree and came from a well-off family, suggesting he did not box because he had to financially, he boxed because he had passion for the sport.
Tributes have been pouring in for Day from across the world of boxing. Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn was said to have been moved to tears by the news. As Hearn himself pointed out, the number of peoplepaying tribute to Patrick Day shows how well loved and respected the former New York Golden Glove champion was across the globe.
It is also important to think about how this tragedy will affect Conwell. He wrote a heartfelt letter to Day shortly after the match, in which he said “If I could take it all back, I would. No one-deserves this to happen to them.” Contributing to another man’s death in the ring will have an enormous mental impact on any boxer. In 1991 Chris Eubank left Michael Watson unable to walk and speak for several years, and some argue the emotional impact this had meant Eubank never quite reached his full potential. Hopefully this will not be the same for Conwell.
Undoubtedly, the tragic events of 12th October demonstrate the enormous risks boxers take when they enter the ring. They take such a risk for a variety of reasons – passion for a sport they love, for their families, their communities, their countries and to entertain millions of fans worldwide – and for this they deserve upmost respect.