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Tragic boxer Mike Towell suffered headache in weeks before fatal fight

Published 02/10/2016

Boxer Mike Towell, 25, who died after suffering a head injury in a bout on Thursday
Boxer Mike Towell, 25, who died after suffering a head injury in a bout on Thursday

A Scottish boxer who died following a televised bout cut short a training session after suffering a headache in the weeks before the fatal fight, it has emerged.

Gym owner and promoter Alex Morrison said the headache had forced Mike Towell to stop sparring as he prepared for Thursday's bout with Dale Evans.

The boxer's "heartbroken" partner Chloe Ross said Towell, from Dundee, had been suffering from headaches in the weeks before the fight.

Mr Morrison told the Scottish Sun on Sunday: "He was sparring with a guy called Stewart Burt but he stopped because of the headache.

"I never paid any attention as he looked okay.

"When he told the guys he wasn't feeling too good, they advised him not to box."

The boxer's management team have said they were not aware of any headache complaints as politicians and doctors questioned the safety of the sport.

The 25-year-old welterweight, known as Iron Mike Towell, was stretchered from the ring after a fifth-round loss to Evans in a St Andrew's Sporting Club fight in Glasgow.

He was taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, diagnosed with severe bleeding and swelling to his brain, and died shortly after 11pm on Friday, 12 hours after being taken off life support.

Ms Ross, his partner of eight years, wrote on Facebook: "I'm absolutely heartbroken to say my annoying best friend passed away tonight at 11.02 very peacefully.

"Michael had severe bleeding and swelling to his brain. He had been complaining of headaches for the last few weeks but we put it down to migraines with the stress of his fight.

"It has been the longest 24 hours of our lives. My baby has lost his daddy. But he will be so so proud of his dad in what he achieved.

"Once he was taken off of his life support he managed 12 hours, 12 whole rounds off his life support, he fought right to the end and he's done us all so proud."

The boxer's family were at his bedside in his final hours and were joined by his manager, Tommy Gilmour, and St Andrew's Sporting Club owner Iain Wilson.

A spokesman for St Andrew's said nobody in Towell's management team was aware of any headache problems leading up to the fight.

Mr Gilmour said the world of boxing had lost both a top fighter and a "very special man", and described him as one of the best he had ever worked with.

Mr Wilson said the club has lost "one of our favourite sons and boxing has lost an explosive talent".

The eliminator for the British welterweight title at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, was being broadcast on STV Glasgow when Towell was fatally injured.

Evans is yet to comment on his opponent's death, but described Towell as a "true warrior" in a statement issued after he was taken to hospital.

He said: "I never wanted to see my opponent being stretchered out of the ring. Who would ever want that sight? That was so hard for his family and my heart goes out to them."

An appeal set up by former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton to raise money for Ms Ross, and the couple's young son, Rocco, has passed its £20,000 target.

The British Boxing Board of Control, the sport's governing body and licensing authority, is yet to comment.

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Ms Ross said she was "in shock" as tributes continued to pour in from the boxing world.

She wrote an online post thanking people for their "kind messages and fundraising".

She added: "I cant believe how loved that boy is! He will be so happy all his boxing heroes know who he is, just the wrong circumstances."

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