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.