The boxing world is in mourning after Russian star Maxim Dadashev tragically died because of injuries suffered in a fight on the weekend.
Emergency surgery was unable to save the 28-year-old’s life after his fight against Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias on Saturday (AEST) was stopped by cornerman James “Buddy” McGirt at the end of the 11th round.
“It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of my husband, Maxim Dadashev,” his widow Elizaveta Apushkina wrote in a statement. “He was a very kind person who fought until the very end. Our son will continue be raised to be a great man like his father.”
The heartbroken wife added the following message on the fighter’s Instagram page: “My love! You are forever in my heart, the soul is torn from the pain without you! It is the hardest time in our family.”
The Russian Boxing Federation said Dadashev suffered a brain swelling in the light-welterweight fight at the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. He underwent surgery but his heart stopped Tuesday, the federation said.
Dadashev was hospitalised at UM Prince George’s Hospital Centre shortly after the fight, which was stopped by his corner after Dadashev took numerous shots to the head.
Footage from the fight shows Dadashev shaking his head in his corner as McGirt pleads with him to stop the fight, telling him: “You’re getting hit too much, Max. Please, Max, please let me do this.”
Shortly after, the referee stopped the bout at McGirt’s request. The Russian Boxing Federation’s secretary general, Umar Kremlev, said the federation would investigate whether anyone was at fault for Dadashev’s death.
“We need to know the truth about what happened,” Kremlev wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “I believe that some human factors intervened, that there was some kind of violation.”
He added the federation would give Dadashev’s family financial support.
Fighters, journalists, promoters and boxing fans from around the world paid their respects as they struggled to digest the news of Dadashev’s death.
ESPN boxing reporter Steve Kim quoted McGirt as saying Dadashev was a “great, great guy”.
“He was a trainer’s dream. If I had two more guys like him, I wouldn’t need anybody else because he was truly dedicated to the sport.”
On Twitter, Canadian boxer Jean Pascal wrote: “Another sad day for boxing . We are like soldiers. We are going to war for our country, family, loved ones and we never know if we’ll make it back home. RIP Dadashev.”
Both fighters were 13-0 before the bout, which offered the winner the right to challenge IBF titleholder Josh Taylor.
Dadashev had been viewed as a rising star after beating two former world lightweight champions, Darleys Perez and Antonio DeMarco, last year. Before Friday’s fight, he had won 11 of his 13 fights by way of knockout.
— with AP