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Australian boxer Dwight Ritchie dead at 27 after sparring accident

Ritchie amassed a 19-2 record during his 10-year-career

Tim Tszyu v Dwight Ritchie: Weigh In Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Australian super welterweight Dwight Ritchie has died at age 27 following a sparring session with middleweight contender Michael Zerafa. “The Fighting Cowboy” “took a body shot, walked back to his corner and collapsed.”

Ritchie made his professional debut in 2009, winning his first 14 pro bouts and claiming the OPBF middleweight title in 2016 with a decision over two-time Japanese champion Hikaru Nishida. Though he lost that belt to Koki Tyson in his first defense, five more wins set up the biggest fight of his career, an August clash with rising sensation Tim Tszyu.

Tim, son of Hall-of-Famer Kostya, ultimately claimed victory by unanimous decision, taking Ritchie’s IBF “Australasian” title in the process. Ritche was helping Zerafa prepare for the latter’s upcoming rematch with Jeff Horn when the incident occurred, ending his professional career at 19-2.

Our thoughts are with Ritchie’s family and friends, and we hope that Zerafa also receives whatever support he needs. Just a heartbreaking fluke of a tragedy.

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