Three days after undergoing emergency surgery following a knockout loss in the ring, junior middleweight boxer Patrick Day died Tuesday in Chicago after succumbing to a traumatic brain injury at 27.
Promoter Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment, broke the news in a statement shared on social media following an outpouring of support from the boxing community while Day fought for his life following a 10th-round knockout loss to unbeaten Charles Conwell on Saturday in a fight that aired on the all-sports streaming platform DAZN.
"DAZN is incredibly saddened to learn about the passing of Patrick Day," a company statement read. "Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
Day (17-4-1, 6 KOs) stayed down on the canvas for several minutes after a barrage of punches led to the stoppage. He remained unconscious and suffered seizures on his way to the ambulance before being rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. After surgery, he remained in critical condition in a coma caused by his injuries.
A highly decorated amateur, Day won two national titles and the New York Golden Gloves tournament before becoming a U.S Olympic alternate in 2012. He turned pro the following year and was rated in the top 10 at 154 pounds by both the WBC and IBF before a June decision loss to unbeaten Carlos Adames.
A fixture in the greater New York boxing community, Day earned an Associate's Degree in food and nutrition from Nassau Community College and a Bachelor's Degree in health and wellness from Kaplan University.
"Patrick Day didn't need to box. He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living," a statement from DiBella Entertainment read. "He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It's how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive."
Conwell (11-0, 8 KOs), a 21-year-old top prospect from Cleveland a 2016 U.S. Olympian, shared an open letter on his Instagram account on Sunday regarding his concern for Day and the emotional turmoil the fight had placed upon him.
"Dear Patrick Day," Conwell wrote. "I never meant for this to happen to you. All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would. No one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you. I can't stop thinking about it myself. I prayed for you so many times and [shed] so many tears because I couldn't even imagine how my family and friends would feel.
"I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you. I thought about quitting boxing but I know that's not what you would want. I know that you were a fighter at heart so I decided not to but to fight and win a world title because that's what you wanted and that's what I want so I'll use you as motivation every day and make sure I always leave it all in the ring every time. #ChampPatrickDay. With Compassion, Charles Conwell."
Day's death was just another vivid example regarding the dangers of the sport. In the span of two days in late July, 28-year-old Russian welterweight prospect Maxim Dadashev and 23-year-old Argentine lightweight Hugo Alfredo Santillan died of injuries suffered inside the ring. Last December, light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, 42, lost his WBC title via knockout to Oleksandr Gvozdyk and was placed in a medically induced coma before fighting for his life and eventually surviving.