Zerafa: My heart bleeds

By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing

WBA #8 middleweight Michael Zerafa is still in shock after his friend and sparring partner, IBF #9 light middleweight Dwight Ritchie, collapsed and died after a body shot during a sparring session in Melbourne on Saturday. Ritchie was helping Zerafa is prepare for a rematch with former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, which is scheduled for December 18 in Brisbane.

“There are simply no words to describe how I am feeling right now,” Zerafa said. “Dwight was one of the most humble people I have ever met. We had known each other since we were teenagers when we were just starting out in the sport. And for the past 10 years, Dwight and I had been supporting each other inside and outside of the ring.

“There had always been a professional and mutual respect between us. (Saturday) was an absolute tragedy, and as tough as it is right now for myself, I can only imagine how difficult the past 24 hours has been for Dwight’s family.

“My heart bleeds for his three children and his beautiful partner. I have spoken to the family and given my deepest condolences. The boxing community has lost a truly great person and I have lost a mate.”

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  • I really wonder if this wasn’t something along the lines of appendicitis or a liver laceration. If higher up, he might have been punched between heartbeats (which can kill someone.)

  • Possible causes of death/injury related to sever body shot:
    1. pneumothorax from broken ribs
    2. ruptured spleen
    3. torn aorta from blunt force trauma
    4. rupture of pericardium (sac around heart) – blunt force trauma
    5. rupture of intestinal tract from blunt force trauma
    6. unknown cause unless determined by autopsy

  • Well well if it ain’t scooby doo the know it all.. only God knows what happened here. Anyway, my heart goes out to the boxers family

  • Apparently Dwight was suffering siezures for a while but wouldn’t get them looked at. Rip

  • Zerafa should pull out of the Horn fight. Horn can’t live with himself as a pro boxer who was in line for a title fight. And then he goes to Zerafa’s turf out of shape, or thinking he was close to the same shape he was in for Mundine (which he probably wasn’t), and Horn thought he still had the fight with Zerafa in the bag. To me, Zerafa should take a lay off, and maybe fight a journeyman in March or April next year, and see if he can get a title fight by October or November 2020. By that time next year, if Horn has 2 fights, he’ll probably go 1-1. Horn should drop to 147 and see if he can be Spence’s comeback fight after the crash, Horn can fight some journeyman in December if he has to have a fight in 2019 still. Leave Zerafa alone to do his time off, and consider if he wants to fight twice more and see if the 2nd one can be a title fight. Horn is not legit at 160, and to try to still force Zerafa to fight him in Brisbane is total B.S.. It is a bad situation (for Ritchie’s family) and for all families/boxing teams involved.

    • Easy for you to say when you or your family not counting on that check. This not a job you just take time off and come back to some light duty tasks. In a perfect world he would have paid time off with expert counseling right? Smh

  • This is an absolute tragedy. He knows the family, the sons… they were friends since 10 years.
    I know that’s really tough, but instead of laying off on my view he should fight and win the title to honor his friend’s memory.

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