By: Sean Crose
It’s been a tragic week for the sport of boxing. First, rising junior welterweight Maxim Dadashev died at the way too young age of of 28 from injuries received in an IBF title eliminator bout against Subriel Matias last Friday night. Then, as if that weren’t tragic enough, super lightweight Hugo Alfredo “Dinamita” Santillan passed away Thursday thanks to injuries he received in a bout fought in Argentina last weekend. Santillan was only 23 years old. After fighting Eduardo Javier Abreu in a bout which would be declared a draw, Santillan reportedly collapsed within the ring while the judge’s cards were being read. The fighter passed away at the Hospital Agudos San Felipe in Buenos Aires.
Santillan was operated on for a clot in his brain, but nonetheless went on to die of a heart attack. ESPN has quoted the Hospital Agudos San Felipe’s Doctor Garciela Olocco saying: “Upon admission to the hospital, he (Santillan) had successive kidney failure and he did not come out of his coma…he had swelling of his brain and he never recovered consciousness. The swelling continued to worsen, and it affected the functioning of the rest of his organs.” It was a completely tragic end to a life which seemed to be just getting started.
Santillan had a professional record of 19-6-2 (8 Kos). His father, Hugo Alfredo Santillan, was also reportedly a professional boxer. Upon news of Santillan’s death, condolences started coming in. “PBC sends its condolences to Hugo Alfredo Santillan’s family and friends as the Argentine boxer passed away today from injuries he sustained on Saturday night,” Premiere Boxing Champions tweeted. “RIP Hugo Santillan,” tweeted the World Boxing Council. “He passed away from injuries suffered during Saturday’s fight which ended in a draw. We join Hugo’s family and friends in grief, support and wish prompt resignation.”
Two deaths in a week would have a huge impact on any sport. This is especially true in the case of boxing, a sport which is -and historically has been – perpetually under criticism, one where many of the participants emerge from poverty, and one where corruption and incompetence have been known to run wild. Yet all the debates on earth can’t take away the tragedies the families of Santillan and Dadashev are enduring at the moment. For those closest to the fighters, the losses will be lifelong struggles. May both men live on in the memories of fans of the sport they dedicated their lives to.