Patrick Day, a 27-year-old boxer from Long Island, New York, died Wednesday after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a match over the weekend.
Day was knocked unconscious during the tenth round of a match against Charles Conwell on Saturday at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The New York-native slipped into a coma after undergoing brain surgery to treat the brain injury but never woke up.
Boxing promoter Lou DiBella confirmed the death Wednesday evening in a statement posted online.
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"He was surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team, including his mentor, friend and trainer Joe Higgins," DiBella wrote. "On behalf of Patrick's family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury."
The 27-year-old super welterweight fighter turned pro in 2012 after winning two national titles and the New York Golden Gloves tournament. Day won the World Boxing Council's Continental Americas championship in 2017 and the International Boxing Federation Intercontinental championship earlier this year, according to DiBella.
DiBella noted in his statement that Day was college educated and didn't "need" to box to earn a living.
"He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring," DiBella said. "Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It's how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive."
The promoter said Day's death was a call to action to make boxing a safer sport for athletes.
Charles Conwell, the Olympic boxer who defeated Day in Chicago, said he wished he could take back the match in an open letter to Day, posted Monday while the 27-year-old was still in a coma.
"I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you," Conwell wrote on his Instagram Monday. "I can’t stop thinking about it myself I prayed for you so many times and shedded so many tears because I couldn’t even imagine how my family and friends would feel."
Conwell, 21, said he considered quitting boxing but felt it would go against Day's love of the sport. He wrote that, instead, he would use Day as motivation to "win a world title because that’s what you wanted."