Amateur boxer killed in £16 prize fight after ‘family begged don’t take part’

A young amateur boxer has died in hospital three days after he suffered a fatal blow to his head during a bout in Brazil.

Joao Victor Penha, 23, was fighting for a prize of £16 in a fight that his family are said to have begged him not to take part in due to concerns over his safety. And just 90 seconds into the bout in Jijoca de Jericoacoara he was knocked out cold as his opponent landed a straight punch on his chin.

Joao Victor was claimed to have been on the front foot of the fight before he suffered the fatal blow, which was captured by an onlooker at the fight, which had a boxing referee and safety mats on the ground.

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The stricken boxer was soon tended to by first-aiders and regained consciousness. But his condition is said to have quickly worsened and he was rushed to an emergency care unit. Local media claim the devastating punch left him with cranioencephalic trauma, an injury that an external force exerts on the skull.

Joao Victor was transferred to a critical condition ward the day after the fight in a nearby hospital in Sobral on October 8, but it was announced he had passed away on October 10. Police in Brazil are said to be investigating the case.

A hospital statement read: “After conducting examinations, the patient was declared brain dead, which also led to a cardiac arrest.”

His funeral took place last Thursday as his sister, Lilia Maria da Penha, told local media: “These fights are an absolute absurdity. I don’t even know what to say, especially after the tragedy with my brother.

“We didn’t want him to participate. We were all very concerned; my mother asked him not to participate, sensing that something more serious could happen. We talked to him, but he asked for our support, and then we had no choice.

“The winner of the fight would get BRL 100 (GBP £16), and the loser would receive BRL 50 (GBP £8). My brother’s life was lost over this amount, unfortunately.”

Away from his passion for boxing, Joao Victor was an HR manager at a hotel on the coast of the resort in north-east Brazil and lived in Jijoca de Jericoacoara with his family.

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