BRITISH boxer Scott Westgarth died on Sunday morning after being rushed to hospital following his victory over Dec Spellman.
The 31-year-old had beaten Spellman on points in an English light-heavyweight title eliminator on Saturday before falling ill backstage, having suffered a knockdown late on.
Westgarth was taken to the Royal Hallamshire hospital — he had fought at The Dome in Doncaster — and died in the early hours on Sunday, the British Boxing Board of Control has confirmed to Press Association Sport.
His points victory over Spellman, which represented the seventh win of a 10-fight career, had been scheduled on the undercard of Curtis Woodhouse-John Wayne Hibbert, which was postponed and then cancelled after Westgarth fell ill.
The show’s promoter Stefy Bull said on social media: “God bless Scott Westgarth. To promote a boxing show and a young man doing a job he loves losing his life, I have no words.
“RIP lad, thoughts go out to your family and your team, it’s been the hardest few days I’ve had to endure. No idea what to do moving forward.”
Westgarth conducted a post-fight interview before his condition declined, and was treated by paramedics prior to being taken to hospital.
The board’s general secretary Robert Smith told Press Association Sport: “I’ve spoken to the doctors and officials in charge and am satisfied with the procedures. It’s a terrible thing that’s happened. My condolences to all of his family.”
Westgarth was a former ski instructor who worked as a chef at Sheffield’s Royal Victoria Holiday Inn, having lived in Penistone and originated from the north-east.
Further social media tributes have since come in from the boxing community, including from 26-year-old Spellman, who had suffered his first defeat, and posted: “Absolutely heartbroken and lost for words. I’ll continue to pray for Scott’s family and the people close to him. Rest easy my friend.”
Woodhouse added: “Heartbreaking news about Scott Westgarth. RIP champ”, while Ricky Hatton wrote: “Heartbreaking this. Thoughts to his friends and family. And to anyone involved in the show. Rest in peace young man.”
Carl Frampton posted: “Heart breaking to hear the news that Scott Westgarth has passed away. It’s a stark reminder of how dangerous this sport is. RIP.”
Kell Brook tweeted: “Condolences to the family of Scott Westgarth, My thoughts and prayers are with you all.”