Fighter Dies After Savannah Bout - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/31/04

Fighter Dies After Savannah Bout

It was a fight that would end up sending shock waves throughout the boxing community. With standing room only, hundreds would come to watch one man lose more than this bout at at Jerrell's Gym on Saturday night. He lost his life.

"Saturday night was sort of, to me, a freak incident because that guy was actually winning the fight," said gym owner Mike Jerrell.

Boxing in the stripped trunks, 29-year-old David Rickman had been fighting professionally for less than a year. Rickman took a series of blows to the face and was knocked out during the forth round. He never regained consciousness and died on Monday.

It was a tragic turn of events that not only silenced the crowd, but reminded boxers what could possibly be their fate every time they step into the ring.  "When you take the ring, it's in the back of your mind," said middleweight Neil Cannon. "You really don't think it's going to happen to you, you know. Unfortunately, it did happen to one of us."

Now the boxing ring sits empty, but Cannon plans on stepping back in. While he continues to prepare for his next matchup, he says it will be hard to forget what happened here, but at the same time he just can't let this tragedy keep him from fighting. "Just like any other sport, it's dangerous," he said.

While it did prove to be fatal for David Rickman, we were told that the man who fought him will never step into the ring again. This is the first death attributed to boxing in the State of Georgia in more than a hundred years. The last one was also in Savannah.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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