British middleweight boxer Sherif Lawal dies after collapsing during pro debut

LONDON — British middleweight boxer Sherif Lawal died Sunday after he was struck in the temple during his professional debut. He was 29.

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Lawal collapsed after he was struck by his Portuguese opponent, Malam Varela, during the fourth round of a scheduled six-round bout at Harrow Leisure Centre in the Harrow section of London, The Guardian reported.

Paramedics at the scene tended to Lawal, who was taken to an area hospital, according to the newspaper. He later died at the hospital.

The bout was the first fight on the scheduled card, Reuters reported. The remaining fights on the card were canceled.

“Despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he was later pronounced dead,” Warren Boxing Management said in a statement posted on Instagram. “Warren Boxing Management would like to send our condolences to all of Sherif’s family, friends, coaches and all those close to him at this tragic time.”

In a statement, the British Boxing Board of Control offered its condolences.

“The thoughts of all those involved in boxing in Great Britain are with them at this difficult time,” the board said in its statement.

Lawal began boxing in 2018 before turning professional earlier this year, E! Online reported.

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