close
close

Boxer Sherif Lawal has died aged 29 after being knocked out in his professional debut

According to several media outlets, British boxer Sherif Lawal has died as a result of a head injury sustained during his professional debut. He was 29.

Lawal was taking part in a competition at the Harrow Leisure Center in London on Sunday, May 12, when he suffered a blow to the temple, event organizer Warren Boxing Management said in a statement on social media the following day .

“Last night Sherif Lawal made his debut at a show at Harrow Leisure Center where our boxer Courtney Bennett was due to fight,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, Sherif collapsed during the struggle and despite the best efforts of paramedics, he was later pronounced dead.”

Concluding the statement, Warren Boxing Management expressed its condolences to Lawal’s “family, friends, trainers and everyone close to him during this tragic time.”

Sherif Lawal/Instagram


According to ESPN, Lawal’s fight against Portuguese opponent Malam Varela was the first fight of the event, and subsequent bouts were canceled after Lawal suffered the fatal injury.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

According to NBC, the British Boxing Board of Control also released a statement on Monday confirming Lawal’s death. “The thoughts of everyone involved in boxing in the UK are with you at this difficult time,” the board said in a statement.

No further details were disclosed.

Sherif Lawal.

Sherif Lawal/Instagram


In 2021, a similar tragedy occurred when 18-year-old boxer Jeanette Zacarias Zapata suffered brain injuries while fighting Canadian Marie-Pier Houle, according to the Associated Press.

Zapata was cared for by her partner and trainer Jovanni Martinez and a medical team at the stadium took her to a local hospital, where she was placed in a medically induced coma, the AP reported.

Her death was announced by the organizer Yvon Michel Group in a statement on Thursday evening. “It is with great sadness and distress that we learned from a representative of her family that Jeannette Zacarias Zapata passed away this afternoon at 3:45 p.m.,” the statement said.