An appeal set up by former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton to raise money for the family of a Scottish fighter who died following a bout has smashed its target.
Mike Towell was stretchered from the ring after a fifth-round loss to Dale Evans in a televised St Andrew’s Sporting Club fight in Glasgow on Thursday.
The 25-year-old welterweight, known as Iron Mike Towell, was taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, diagnosed with severe bleeding and swelling to his brain, and died shortly after 11pm on Friday, 12 hours after being taken off life support.
Hatton set up the fundraising appeal to raise £20,000 for Towell’s partner Chloe Ross and the couple’s young son, Rocco. Last night the appeal had passed the £26,000 mark.
Ms Ross said Towell, from Dundee, had been suffering from headaches in the weeks before the fight.
And gym owner and promoter Alex Morrison said a headache had forced Towell to stop sparring as he prepared for Thursday’s bout.
Mr Morrison told the Sun newspaper: “He was sparring with a guy called Stewart Burt but he stopped because of the headache.
“I never paid any attention as he looked okay. When he told the guys he wasn’t feeling too good, they advised him not to box.”
The boxer’s management team have said they were not aware of any headache complaints as politicians and doctors questioned the safety of the sport.
Ms Ross, his partner of eight years, wrote on Facebook: “I’m absolutely heartbroken to say my annoying best friend passed away tonight at 11.02 very peacefully.
“Michael had severe bleeding and swelling to his brain. He had been complaining of headaches for the last few weeks but we put it down to migraines with the stress of his fight.
“It has been the longest 24 hours of our lives. My baby has lost his daddy. But he will be so so proud of his dad in what he achieved.
“Once he was taken off of his life support he managed 12 hours, 12 whole rounds off his life support, he fought right to the end and he’s done us all so proud.”
The boxer’s family were at his bedside in his final hours and were joined by his manager, Tommy Gilmour, and St Andrew’s Sporting Club owner Iain Wilson.
A spokesman for St Andrew’s said nobody in Towell’s management team was aware of any headache problems leading up to the fight.