The Australian boxing fraternity is mourning the loss of local fighter Dwight Ritchie, who died in a freak training accident in Melbourne.
The 27-year-old Victorian collapsed on Saturday after a sparring session with Michael Zerafa, who is preparing for his rematch with Jeff Horn after winning the Battle of Bendigo.
News Corp broke the news and reported Ritchie took a body shot, walked back to his corner, collapsed and could not be revived.
Ritchie was previously an Australian middleweight champion and hit the headlines when he fought Tim Tszyu in August, losing only for the second time in a 21-fight career.
“Today we lost a champion both in and out of the ring with the tragic passing of Dwight Ritchie. As a group we are all shattered, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Ritchie family as we all take a moment to remember a great warrior and champion. Gone too soon,” posted Tszyu on Facebook.
Ritchie’s promoter Jake Ellis also took to social media to offer his condolences.
“As Dwight’s promoter and friend it’s unbearable to accept the tragic news that’s just surfaced,” Ellis tweeted. “Dwight will always be remembered by the boxing fraternity as one of the brightest talents in Australia whose fighting style embodied exactly how he lived. RIP Cowboy you’ll be forever missed.”
It will be a difficult time for Zerafa, who shot to fame with his victory over Horn. Whether his rematch in December goes ahead remains to be seen.