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.”