Michael Norgrove dies, aged 31

Michael Norgrove died this morning.

The 31 year-old light-middleweight (5-0) from Woodford Green passed away nine days after being admitted to hospital following his collapse in the ring during a bout in London.

On Thursday 28th March, unbeaten 31 year-old Norgrove boxed Sedgley’s Tom Bowen (3-4-1) in a contest the Zambia-born man was expected to win. It was the second fight of the evening on what was the first bill at the Ring, Blackfriars, for 73 years.

It turned out to be the last bout of the night. The fights scheduled to follow Norgrove v Bowen were cancelled after a completely unexpected tragedy ensued.

Norgrove made a good start, knocking Bowen down in the first round. However, he was pulled out of the bout by referee Jeff Hinds after 29 seconds of the fifth round with the official reportedly noticing something unusual about the fighter’s appearance.

Hinds made a prescient decision.

The boxer then collapsed and received immediate medical attention. He was then rushed to hospital where he was operated on to treat a bleed on the brain.

Boxer Phil Gill was the house second on the night and posted on the BoxRec forum the morning after the tragedy unfolded.

“It was a horrible thing to see happen he hadn’t taken a single big shot so makes you wonder where the damage was done,” wrote Gill. “[He] was up in the fight having dropped the other lad in the first round.

“I know refs and the board get slagged a lot but I felt Jeff Hinds [the contest’s referee] was spot on in calling a halt to the fight before Mike collapsed and never got hit with anything. [It] was well spotted. The oxygen and docs were in there within seconds.”

Gill posted this afternoon: “He put up a hard fight. [There were] lots of complications after surgery [he] was up and down they took him off the sedation and ventilators few days ago and it was a matter of waiting for him to wake up but .. xxxxx”

Norgrove’s first five fights were on shows promoted by Steve Goodwin. Goodwin told BoxRec News this afternoon: “I am proud to have been associated with Michael. He was always a kind and warm human being, a very talented boxer and it is a very sad loss to everyone who ever met him.

“My thoughts go out to his family.”

Jon Briggs, who specialises in interviewing novice pros for this website, spoke to Michael Norgrove back in September 2010. Having turned over five months earlier, Norgrove had won his first two contests.

Norgrove said: "I know it’s a bit early to start talking belts and titles just yet but aside from getting paid isn’t that why boxers step into the ring?... I want to move up quite quickly, I want to step up a good level every fight. I haven’t got time to waste as I’m 30 in January.”

The headline of the piece was taken from his last quote – ‘Michael Norgrove: I haven’t got time to waste’.

A tragedy that no one knew, least of all Michael himself, that he would have such little time at all.

Features

Simon Barclay speaks to BoxRec News from Klitschko's Champ Camp

Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko is preparing to face Australian Alex Leapai on 26th April and as usual he has chosen the familiar surroundings of the Austrian Alps. Just hours after winning his professional debut at the Copper Box in London, 24-year old Corby cruiserweight Simon Barclay was on a plane to join up with him in what the Ukrainian calls 'Champ Camp'.

Fight Reports

Brentwood’s ‘Smokin’ Joe Mullender (6-1) got back on track with a close points win over Peckham’s Diego Burton (4-4-1) over ten rounds at the York Hall on Saturday. It was a belter of a fight on a slightly smaller than usual Goodwin bill, partly due to 'Flash' Ashley Sexton not making weight again (more on this later) and 'Big Dog' AJ Carter’s opponent, who reportedly turned up with Evo-Stick holding his mooey in place.