Michael Zerafa has penned a heartfelt open letter to Dwight Ritchie expressing his dismay at his passing.
Zerafa was sparring with Ritchie in Melbourne on Saturday when ‘The Fighting Cowboy’ collapsed suddenly and died. Paramedics were called but the 27-year-old father of three was unable to be revived.
“There are simply no words to describe how I am feeling right now,” Zerafa wrote on Exclusive Insight.
“Dwight was one of the most humble people I have ever met.
“We had known each other since we were teenagers, when we were just starting out in the sport. And for the past 10 years, Dwight and I had been supporting each other inside, and outside of the ring.
“Yesterday, was an absolute tragedy, and as tough as it is right now for myself, I can only imagine how difficult the past 24 hours has been for Dwight’s family.
“My heart bleeds for his three children and his beautiful partner. I have spoken to the family, and given my deepest condolences. The boxing community has lost a truly great person, and I have lost a mate.
“Dwight’s passing is a further reminder why we can’t take life for granted. Nothing in life is guaranteed.
“Dwight, you will always be remembered. Rest in Peace mate.”
Zerafa was in camp preparing for his rematch with former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn in December while Ritchie was training for his fight against Tommy Browne that was also scheduled to take place next month.
It is unclear whether Zerafa-Horn II will still go ahead on the original date.
Yesterday, members of Ritchie’s team gathered at the Team Ellis Gym in Melbourne to pay their respects to the fallen warrior.
“Despite of everyone he met, he was loved and he was truly an inspiration in every way, shape and form to everyone who ever met him,” said promoter Jake Ellis to Nine News.
“He was in the sixth round of sparring, it was a very, very competitive spar, and he got hit with a body shot,” manager Mike Altamura told Nine News.
“Suddenly, a split second later, he just collapsed from the shot.
“That’s the tragedy of everything. That three young kids have lost their father and a really, really good man. I mean, life shouldn’t end at 27.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to provide financial assistance to Ritchie’s family. Contributions can be made by visiting: www.gofundme.com/f/rest-in-peace-dwight-ritchie
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