Oct. 16 (UPI) — Junior middleweight boxer Patrick Day, who endured a 10th-round knockout defeat Saturday night, died from a traumatic brain injury on Wednesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was 27.
“On behalf of Patrick’s family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury,” promoter Lou DiBella said in a statement.
“He was a son, brother, and good friend to many. Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”
During Saturday’s 10-round fight against undefeated Charles Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, Day was knocked down in the fourth and eighth rounds. In the final round, Conwell knocked him out with two rights and a left hook.
When Day landed, the back of his head slammed onto the canvas. Referee Celestino Ruiz immediately stopped the bout without a count.
Medical personnel surrounded Day, and he was taken out of the ring on a stretcher to an ambulance. The 27-year-old fighter never regained consciousness and later underwent emergency brain surgery.
Two days before Day’s death, Conwell penned an emotional letter to him on social media.
“I never meant for this to happen to you,” Conwell wrote on Instagram. “All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would. No one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you.
“I can’t stop thinking about it myself. I prayed for you so many times and shedded so many tears because I couldn’t even imagine how my family and friends would feel. I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you.”
Day (17-4-1, 6 KOs) entered the fight after losing a 10-round decision to junior middleweight contender Carlos Adames in late June. Before the back-to-back defeats, Day won six consecutive fights dating to 2015 and was a decorated amateur.
DiBella said he hopes Day’s death will lead to a solution on the dangers of boxing.
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” DiBella said. “This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.
“While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.”