Alberta fighter Tim Hague dies following boxing match in Edmonton
Family members told CTV Edmonton Tim Hague died Sunday after sustaining a brain injury in a boxing match Friday night. He was 34.
Hague’s sister, Jackie Neil, sent out a statement on behalf of her family:
“It is with incredible sadness, sorrow and heartbreak to report that Tim has passed away today. He was surrounded by family, listening to his favorite songs. We will miss him with so greatly. We ask for privacy during this difficult time.”
Hague was knocked out by former Edmonton Eskimos player Adam Braidwood during a KO Boxing event at the Shaw Conference Centre.
The heavyweight match was scheduled last minute. Hague stepped up to fight Braidwood after two other fighters dropped out.
“I know Tim actually begged for this fight,” Long-time friend and training partner Victor Valimaki told CTV News. “He talked to the promoters and begged for this fight. He wanted it.”
The fight lasted two rounds before the final punch sent Hague down and crashed his head hard against the canvas.
Hague left the ring on his own power, but he was then rushed to the hospital where he underwent brain surgery.
“Nobody wants to see something like this happen,” professional boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich told CTV Edmonton. “It’s a freak accident. It doesn’t happen often.”
On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, Neil said her brother remained in critical condition. But just after 1:30 p.m., she announced Hague had died.
“He was so strong, a fighter right to the very end. It's all still surreal right now,” Neil said.
Hague was born in Boyle and fought out of Edmonton. He was a Mixed Martial Arts fighter before he became a boxer in 2016.
He was also a Grade 4 English teacher and father to a nine year old boy.
“That’s just the definition of Tim,” Valimaki said. “He had the biggest smile on his face, and then as soon as he stepped in the ring, he was a nasty guy, but the biggest teddy bear you've ever met.”
Many on social media and in the boxing community said the fight should have ended before Hague received the final blow.
“I think it went a bit longer than it probably should have,” Valimaki said. “It could've been stopped quicker, but it's always hard to tell when you're in the heat of the moment, and with the ref and when Tim’s saying he’s good to go.”
Pat Reid, the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission Executive Director, said the fight is currently under review:
“As part of Edmonton Combative Sports Commission combative sports protocol, a post-fight official review is conducted immediately after each competition. Following the news that boxer Tim Hague is in critical condition following a professional boxing match on Friday, June 16, 2017, we have extended the request for reports to all referees, ringside judges, physicians, chief inspector, paymaster and the presiding inspectors assigned to the bout. We will determine the next steps following the evaluation of these reports.”
With files from Jeremy Thompson