Boxing mourns Oyebola loss

Doctors in London have confirmed former British heavyweight champion James Oyebola's death, after the 47-year-old was shot in the face in the early hours of Monday morning.

Doctors in London have confirmed former British heavyweight champion James Oyebola's death, after the 47-year-old was shot in the face on Monday morning.

Oyebola had been treated at a Charing Cross Hospital after an incident at a Fulham nightclub, where he had stepped in to help staff tackle cigarette smokers.

Medics had kept the 6ft 9ins fighter alive on a life support machine, but that was then switched off at 12.39pm on Friday.

Boxing promoter Frank Maloney has paid tribute to his former charge, who won the WBC international heavyweight title in 1993 and then held the British heavyweight title between 1994 and 1996.

"James had to fight tooth and nail for everything he achieved in life and then he dedicated himself to encouraging young kids to do the same," Maloney said.

"This is one of the saddest times I have ever experienced. Boxing has lost a great ambassador and it is awful that a guy like James should have been the victim of such a cowardly attack."

Oyebola turned to management after calling time on his career in 1996 and guided his light-welterweight protege Ajose Olusegun to the Commonwealth title in London in June.

Brighton's Scott Welch also spoke kindly of his old foe, whom he enjoyed two titanic battles with in the mid 90's.

"He only phoned me two weeks ago and told me how well the family was doing and about the prospects he was managing," Welch said.

"We didn't like each other at the time but after we fought there was a great mutual respect and admiration. He might have been big and bad inside the ring but he was a great family man out of it."

Oyebola left the ring with a record of 18 wins from 23 fights, and a bronze medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

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