Fans may have heard about the sad and shocking news regarding pro debutant Sherif Lawal, who passed away after his stoppage loss in Harrow at the weekend. The talented middleweight was stopped in the fourth round of his fight with Malam Varela, and Sherif sadly died later in hospital. This came as another stark reminder of just how dangerous the sport of boxing is, and how much each and every fighter lays on the line each time he or she sets foot into the ring.

Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who of course approaches the biggest fight of his ring career against Oleksandr Usyk, has taken the time to pay tribute to the young fighter who lost his life.

“Rest in peace, poor fella,” Fury said. “We all know the dangers of getting in the ring. The dangers of having our brains knocked out. We’re not in there to tickle each other to death. We are there to do serious damage to each other. It’s what we’re paid for. I’ve known the risks all my life, You know that if it’s your time to die it’s destiny.”

Some hard words from Fury, but accurate all the same. We all love boxing, yet it cannot be denied how brutal the sport can be. As Fury says, fighters are paid to inflict damage on their opponent, and plenty of spectators do show up hoping to see a violent knockout. We fans who have never boxed cannot possibly appreciate or understand the pressure fighters are under when they box. Our condolences go out to 29 year old Sherif’s family and friends at this time.

Fury is not the only big name to have paid tribute to the fallen fighter, and the promoter of the fight card Lawal lost his life on has said “it’s now in the hands of the [British Boxing] Board and they’re going to assess the incident.”

No doubt there will be further calls in some places for the sport to be banned. We have heard these calls before, and we will no doubt hear them again. But for young men and women like Sherif, the sport of boxing offers them a chance at a better life. As a fan wrote on social media, Sherif died while chasing his dream.

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