Death of Michael Norgrove shows danger of boxing, says Robert Smith

Last Updated: 11/04/13 6:49pm

Smith: saddened by "tragic event"

British Boxing Board of Control chief Robert Smith told Ringside that the tragic death of Michael Norgrove is a stark reminder of the dangers of boxing.

The 31-year-old Zambian-born light middleweight lost his life after collapsing in the ring during his bout with Tom Bowen at The Ring boxing club in Blackfriars at the end of March.

Norgrove, who had been unbeaten in five fights, developed a blood clot on his brain and died nine days after the event after receiving treatment at the Royal London Hospital.

He is the first British professional to lose his life following a fight since James Murray in 1995, but the BBBofC General Secretary said all procedures seem to have been adhered to at the event and he described the death as "tragic".

Smith told Ringside: "Over the last week or so since the contest, I have been given reports from the medical officers, the referees and all the officials who were there.

"It would seem that all the procedures we have in place worked extremely well. He was in hospital within 25-30 minutes and it seems to me at the present time that it was just a tragic event.


"We will be looking at different things, but I must say there is always an element of danger in boxing. Everybody who's boxed knows the dangers of boxing."

BBBofC chief Robert Smith

"We are very strict in what we do, not just in annual medicals but all the procedures we have at tournaments.

"We must never be complacent and we are always looking at things we can improve, but as I said, everything seemed to work well on the night.

"We will be looking at different things, but I must say there is always an element of danger in boxing. Everybody who's boxed knows the dangers of boxing.

"I used to certainly know the dangers of boxing from being a boxer and now I've been an administrator and it is the Board's job to try and make it as safe as possible.

"But we must never forget that boxing can be a dangerous sport."


Hall of Fame inductee Colin Hart paid tribute to the medical procedures put in place by the British Board, insisting that the sport is in safer hands in this country than anywhere else in the world.

But the boxing journalist said that while such incidents are rare, it doesn't lessen the tragic nature of Norgrove's death.

He said: "Unfortunately after covering this sport for nearly 50 years I've witnessed many tragedies. Johnny Owen is one that sticks in my mind.

"Of course, the first tragedy in 18 years is one too many and there's really nothing to add other than that we know boxing is dangerous and that we go as far as we can to make it as safe as possible.

"This is something that you can't legislate for and fortunately, as dangerous as this sport is, it happens very rarely.

"A lot of it is thanks to the medical supervision that our board give to professional boxing. It's the best in the world."