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Tragic mystery that continues to haunt boxing

A tragic mystery continues to haunt Irish sport.

Last week the remains of Olympic bronze medal winner Darren Sutherland were reinterred at St. Finian's Cemetery in Navan.

It's almost a year since the 27-year-old middleweight boxer was found hanged in his London apartment. Sutherland had turned professional and had won his four pro bouts before being found dead by his manager Frank Maloney.

Darren's family requested that an independent pathologist conduct a second post mortem following the report of an independent review of the boxer's death.

Meath County Council granted the family's request. A legal spokesperson for the Sutherland family says: "They (the family) are firmly of the view that the only forum for determining the facts surrounding Darren's death is through the judicial process."

The judgement of the London police was that the boxer appeared to have taken his own life. Since then, an independent review of the case by the North's state pathologist Professor Jack Crane has raised some disturbing questions for the family.

Describing the standard of the autopsy as "inadequate", Professor Crane highlighted the presence of a loosely tied ligature around Sutherland's hands and suggested it raised concern about "the possibility of involvement of a third party."

As he prepares for his British super-middleweight title eliminator against Carl Dilks on Saturday, the man who beat Darren in the Olympic semi-final, James DeGale, recalls their sporting rivalry. "When I heard the news (of Darren's death) I half-welled up," says DeGale. "I said, "No, it can't be true. It must be a sick joke.

"Me and Darren went back a long way," he says. "He beat me four times. OK, I won the one that really mattered, but he was a very good fighter. Before a fight we'd give each other the eye, but afterwards we always talked. Boxing was his life. He wanted to get to the top, just like me."