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Boxer Mike Towell's death was avoidable, inquiry finds

'Iron Mike' failed to follow doctors' orders before a fight in Glasgow in September 2016.

Mike Towell: Died during fight in 2016.
Mike Towell: Died during fight in 2016.

The death of boxer Mike Towell following a fight in Glasgow could have been avoided if he followed doctors' orders, a fatal accident inquiry has found.

Towell, from Dundee, died of a bleed on the brain the day after he lost a bout in the fifth round to Welsh fighter Dale Evans on September 29, 2016.

'Iron Mike', a 25-year-old welterweight, collapsed after his loss to Evans in the British title eliminator at Glasgow's St Andrews Sporting Club.

The fight should never have taken place and only did so because Towell did not reveal the full extent of medical problems he was facing, Sheriff Craig Turnbull concluded in his report published on Friday.

He had been diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy and had been suffering from seizures.

Sheriff Turnbull found that Towell's death was ultimately caused by punches during the final round, but said it could have been avoided had he followed the advice of three separate doctors, who all told him not to fight three years earlier.

Towell also failed to tell the doctor who examined him before the contest about his epilepsy, the FAI found.

Sheriff Turnbull also said the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) could have done more to check whether Towell was fit to fight.

https://stv.tv/news/north/1432704-scots-boxer-mike-towell-suffered-unsurvivable-injury/ | default

He said there were six "reasonable precautions" which might have realistically prevented the death had they been carried out.

Sheriff Turnbull also highlighted four "facts relevant to the circumstances" of Towell's death.

He said Towell should have been referred to a neurologist following a visit to Ninewells Hospital in May 2016, but added that the boxer would "have probably not attended" any appointment.

There was nothing different medical staff at NHS Tayside should have done when Towell went to the hospital two weeks before the fight, the FAI found.

Among the sheriff's recommendations, he urged the BBBC to check every boxer's medical history is up to date.

In his report, Sheriff Turnbull said: "Regrettably, it appears that Mr Towell's love of boxing caused him to ignore the advice of doctors and not to accept the medical condition he had been diagnosed as suffering from.

Mike Towell's fight should never have happened, the FAI found.
Mike Towell's fight should never have happened, the FAI found. STV Glasgow

"It is hard not to conclude that the very drive and commitment to boxing which Mr Towell demonstrated in his ascent to a final eliminator contest for the British welterweight championship in only his 13th professional fight is what led to his untimely death.

"The fight against Mr Evans should never have taken place. Had Mr Towell been open and honest with the doctors who carried out his annual BBBC medical examinations, it is highly likely that he would not have been licensed to box from at least 2014 onwards.

"Indeed, it is possible, although not certain, that he may never have been licensed to box professionally."

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