Sunday 4 December 2016

'My baby has lost his daddy' - partner's heartbreaking tribute to tragic boxer Mike Towell

Published 01/10/2016 | 06:20

Scottish boxer Mike Towell was knocked out in the fifth round of a fight with Welshman Dale Evan
Scottish boxer Mike Towell was knocked out in the fifth round of a fight with Welshman Dale Evan
Mike Towell, centre, at the end of a previous bout
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND MAY 23 : Mike Towell (blue short), of Dundee takes on Danny Little of Driffield during a Welterweight match up at Glasgow's Bellahouston Leisure Centre on May 23, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The heartbroken partner of Scottish boxer Mike Towell said he "fought right to the end" before succumbing to an injury suffered in a televised bout.

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The 25-year-old had to be stretchered from the ring after a fifth-round loss to Dale Evans in a St Andrews Sporting Club fight in Glasgow on Thursday night.

The young father, from Dundee, was rushed to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where he was diagnosed with severe bleeding and swelling to his brain.

Towell's partner, Chloe Ross, said she was "absolutely heartbroken" to announce that he passed away peacefully shortly after 11pm on Friday evening, 12 hours after he was taken off life support.

According to Ms Ross, the welterweight had been complaining of migraines in the run-up to the fight but put it down to stress.

In an emotional Facebook post she said it had been "the longest 24 hours of our lives".

She wrote: "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."

Towell's family were at the boxer's bedside in his final hours and are understood to have been joined by his manager, Tommy Gilmour.

Ms Ross said: "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 ... He left doing the thing he's best at ... there's only one."

The couple had been together for more than eight years and had a young son, Rocco.

Towell's management are expected to release a statement on Saturday morning.

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

As news of the tragedy emerged members of the boxing community paid tribute to the sportsman, known as "Iron Mike Towell".

St Andrews Sporting Club said he "will always be in our hearts".

Trainer Shane McGuigan said on Twitter: "Heartbreaking news that Mike Towell has lost his life. May he rest in peace, thoughts go out to his loved ones. #RIP"

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "Absolutely devastated by the passing of Mike Towell - all of our thoughts with his friends and family at this time."

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: "The ingredients were there for an entertaining fight and it was that, we are both punchers and so sadly for Mike he came out the wrong side.

"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."

The event at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, was being broadcast on STV Glasgow when the Towell was fatally injured.

The boxer had been undefeated going into Thursday's fight, with 11 previous wins and one draw on his professional record, and the bout was an eliminator for the British welterweight title.

According to the BoxRec database of professional fights, Towell was knocked down in the first round and again in the fifth prior to the stoppage.

The bout was refereed by Victor Loughlin, who was also in charge of the British middleweight title fight in March between Chris Eubank and Nick Blackwell, which ended the latter's career after he suffered a bleed on the skull when he was stopped in 10 rounds.

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.

He said: "He was Iron Mike to the end, he kept fighting till the last, and we have lost an exciting boxer but, more importantly, a very special man.

"I am devastated and all my thoughts are with Mike's mum Tracey, his partner Chloe and their little son Rocco.

"He was one of the greatest characters I have worked with, I came away from every phone call or chat we had smiling and shaking my head in bewilderment."

Iain Wilson, owner of St Andrew's Sporting Club, who was with Towell and his family following the fight, added: "He wasn't just a fighter at our club, he was my friend and a special heart-and-soul guy. I was with the family through the night after the fight, they are heartbroken and everyone at the club shares their grief.

"We have lost one of our favourite sons and boxing has lost an explosive talent but the biggest loss of all is for the Towell family. We will rally round them now to do all we can."

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