Australian boxer Michael Zerafa has opened up regarding the death of Shepparton's Dwight Ritchie, due to an injury suffered during a sparring session between the two.
Zerafa, the WBA Oceania middleweight champion, told Seven News nothing out of the ordinary had happened during Saturday's session in the lead-up to a body shot that caused Ritchie to collapse.
“He rocked up, fit as ever, we were both in preparation for our fights,” Zerafa said.
“He took a few backwards steps and just held his chest, and just collapsed. We did everything we could to try and save him, but unfortunately it just wasn't enough.
“It was nothing out of the ordinary, no shots landed that were really different. Just something happened.”
In an article for exclusiveinsight.com Zerafa expanded on the impact the 27-year-old Shepparton product had on him for a decade.
“Dwight was one of the most humble people I have ever met,” he wrote.
“We had known each other since we were teenagers, when we were just starting out in the sport. And for the past 10 years, Dwight and I had been supporting each other inside, and outside of the ring.
“There had always been a professional and mutual respect between us.
“(Saturday) was an absolute tragedy, and as tough as it is right now for myself, I can only imagine how difficult (it) has been for Dwight’s family.
“My heart bleeds for his (four) children and his beautiful partner. I have spoken to the family, and given my deepest condolences.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Ritchie's partner and children, with more than $20 000 raised so far.
The page can be reached at https://www.gofundme.com/f/rest-in-peace-dwight-ritchie.