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Boxer Sherif Lawal dead at 29 after suffering blow to the head during his professional debut

Lawal collapsed after the blow, and the event's promoter said paramedics' attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Boxing gloves hang on a ring.
Posted at 2:48 PM, May 14, 2024

A British boxer died Sunday night after suffering a blow to the head during his professional debut.

Sherif Lawal was in the fourth of a six-round fight at Harrow Leisure Centre in London when his opponent, fellow middleweight Malam Varela, struck him in the temple. The 29-year-old then collapsed, "and despite the best efforts of paramedics, he was later pronounced dead," the event's promoter, Warren Boxing Management, said in an Instagram post Monday.

The company extended its condolences to Lawal's family, friends, coaches "and all those close to him at this tragic time," as did The British Boxing Board of Control.

"The thoughts of all those involved in boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time," the board said in a statement posted to X.

Other details of Lawal's cause of death have not been released at this time.

It's not uncommon for boxers to die due to injuries they have sustained while taking part in the full-contact combat sport. Last year, at least two boxers died due to brain-related trauma they suffered in the ring.

Additionally, studies have shown boxing has one of the highest rates of concussions in all contact sports, with brain damage and CTE effects being more severe, too.