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Bout that led to death of boxer ‘should never have taken place’

Sheriff Craig Turnbull’s report revealed various precautions that could have helped avoid the incident.

Mike Towell (Dundee Boxing Club/PA)
Mike Towell (Dundee Boxing Club/PA)

Scottish boxer Mike Towell should never have taken part in the bout that led to his death, a sheriff has ruled.

The 25-year-old, known as Iron Mike Towell, died in hospital the day after he was removed from the ring at the end of a fifth-round loss to Dale Evans in Glasgow on September 29 2016.

He was diagnosed with severe bleeding and swelling to his brain but survived for 12 hours after being removed from life support at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Had Mr Towell been open and honest with the doctors ... it is highly likely that he would not have been licensed to box from at least 2014 onwards Sheriff Craig Turnbull

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) was held into the death of the father, from Dundee, with Sheriff Craig Turnbull’s report stating various precautions that could have helped avoid the incident.

He suggested Mr Towell should “have followed the advice not to box which was given to him by three separate doctors”, adding the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) rules “are vulnerable to the withholding and concealing of relevant information by boxers”.

In the conclusion of the report, Mr Turnbull said: “The fight against Mr Evans should never have taken place.

“Had Mr Towell been open and honest with the doctors who carried out his annual BBBC medical examinations, it is highly likely that he would not have been licensed to box from at least 2014 onwards.

“Indeed, it is possible, although not certain, that he may never have been licensed to box professionally.”

He recorded the cause of death as a fatal head injury.

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The coffin of boxer Mike Towell arriving for his funeral at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Dundee (Jane Barlow/PA)

Opponent Mr Evans was not called as a witness in the inquiry.

The sheriff said: “Although he did not give evidence, I imagine that the events of September 29 2016 will haunt Mr Evans for the rest of his life.

“Whilst I am sure that it will be of little comfort to him, it is important to record that Mr Evans is blameless.

Towell had been diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy in October 2013

While the boxer’s mother told the inquiry boxing was “what he lived for”, Mr Turnbull suggested that is what caused him to ignore the advice of doctors and not to accept the medical condition he had been diagnosed as suffering from.

He also recommended the BBBC should obtain information from each boxer of any treatment received in the past 12 months and “should give consideration to suspending the licence of any boxer who does not provide the details required”.

PA

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