Former Boxing Champ Found Dead

Published September 16, 2009

The boxing curse continues. In the latest episode of tragedies affecting the world of pugilism, Darren Sutherland, who won a bronze medal for Ireland at the Beijing Olympics, was found hanged at his home, The Associated Press reports.

The 27-year-old middleweight was unbeaten in his first four pro fights and was supposed to have appeared with his manager, Frank Maloney, at a news conference on Tuesday to talk about his next bout on Oct. 16, according to AP.

The Metropolitan Police said Sutherland was pronounced dead in the mid-afternoon. His death was not being treated as suspicious, a suggestion that no one else was involved. Maloney, who once managed former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, was taken to a hospital. Tests revealed the 55-year-old manager had a heart attack, but it was not clear if the attack happened before Monday's events, AP reports.

He was expected to remain in the hospital for a few days, and doctors are allowing him to work on his laptop.

Olympic middleweight champion James DeGale, who beat Sutherland in Beijing, paid tribute to his former rival. "He had an Olympic bronze medal and his whole life to look forward to," he told AP. "He had a great future and my heart goes out to everyone who knew him."

Barry McGuigan, a former featherweight champion from Ireland, said Sutherland had the ability to win a world title. "It is an absolute tragedy," he said Tuesday. "I would describe Darren as a phenomenal talent. He represented his country with pride as an amateur and I believe he would have become a world champion in the professional ranks one day."

Sutherland's death is the latest blow to boxing, with three former champions all dying violently in July: Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti and Vernon Forrest. Arguello, the 57-year-old mayor of Managua, died in his Nicaragua home and police suspect he shot himself in the chest. Gatti, 37, was found dead at a Brazilian resort in what police ruled a suicide by hanging. Forrest, 38, was shot to death in Atlanta after he chased a man who robbed him.

Written by BET.com Staff

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