How Many People Have Died From Boxing?

March 13, 2024

Boxing is one of the world’s oldest and most enduring sports. It’s also one of the most dangerous. The sport is simple – two fighters fight with their fists until one of them is knocked unconscious. Add to that a rich history of outrageous characters, a potent dose of controversy and corruption, and you get a sport that can be a matter of life or death.

It is therefore no surprise that whenever a professional or amateur boxer dies of injuries sustained in the ring, there are calls for the sport to be banned. Boxers, trainers, promoters and fans will be used to these calls, but for the general public it’s a reminder that despite all the training and safety measures put in place, it is still a sport that can be very dangerous.

The deaths of Simiso Buthelezi in South Africa on Sunday and Jeanette Zacarias Zapata in Canada on Wednesday will again draw attention to the issue. Both were the result of head trauma suffered during fights.

But just how many people have died from boxing? Between 1890 and 2011, it’s estimated that 1,604 boxers died as a direct result of their injuries in the ring, which works out at an average of 13 deaths per year. And those figures don’t include the many more boxers who have died a few days after fighting, or who have succumbed to long-term effects like heart failure or brain damage.


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