Patrick Day, Boxer Who Suffered Brain Injury in Bout, Dies at 27, Promoter Says

Four days after being knocked unconscious in a super welterweight title fight, Patrick Day, a former New York Golden Gloves champion and Long Island native, died on Wednesday. He was 27.

Day had been in a coma since Saturday night, when he fell to the canvas and hit his head after his opponent, Charles Conwell, a 2016 Olympian, landed several blows in the 10th and final round of their U.S.B.A. fight in Chicago.

His death was announced by Lou DiBella, the promoter for both Day and Conwell.

“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” DiBella wrote on his website Wednesday. “This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.”

“While we don’t have the answers,” he continued, “we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate. This is a way we can honor the legacy of Pat Day.”

On Monday, Conwell posted an open letter to Day on Instagram, saying he never meant to hurt him and was considering quitting boxing.

Day, who was knocked down three times during the fight at the Wintrust Arena, is at least the third professional boxer to die this year after suffering a traumatic brain injury in the ring.

In July, Maxim Dadashev, a 28-year-old Russian, died four days after a light welterweight fight in Maryland. Two days later, Hugo Alfredo Santillán, a 23-year-old Argentine, died after collapsing at the end of a lightweight fight near Buenos Aires.

Their deaths raised questions among boxing regulators about the well being of fighters, who often become dehydrated so that they can make weight. Medical experts have said that dehydration can hurt vital organs and leave the brain less protected from injury.

The International Boxing Federation/United States Boxing Association, which is based in Springfield, N.J., did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Conwell, who is 11-0 with eight knockouts, said in his Instagram post that he was overwhelmed with guilt.

“I never meant for this to happen to you,” Conwell wrote. “All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would — no one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you.”

Conwell continued, “I thought about quitting boxing but I know that’s not what you would want.”

Day was born on Aug. 9, 1992, and grew up in Freeport, N.Y., according to his profile on DiBella’s website. His boxing record was 17-4-1 with six knockouts, and he was an Olympic team alternate in 2012. In 2017, he won the W.B.C. Continental Americas Championship, which he followed up with the I.B.F. Intercontinental Championship in 2019, his biography said.

He was the youngest of four sons born to Haitian immigrants and started training on an Everlast punching bag in the garage of a neighbor, Joe Higgins, a retired New York City firefighter who lost a brother, Timothy, in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, according to an ESPN profile of Day.

Day was Higgins’s star pupil in the Freeport P.A.L., or Police Athletic League.

In the profile, Higgins, who had two throat surgeries and PTSD after responding to the World Trade Center site, credited Day with saving his life.