Less than a week from suffering a brutal 10th-round knockout loss on Saturday night, Junior middleweight Patrick Day died from brain injuries endured from the fight on Wednesday at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, promoter Lou DiBella said, according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael.
Day, 27, was knocked out by unbeaten 21-year old Charles Cornwell, a blue chip prospect and 2016 United States Olympian, in a fight that Cornwell controlled throughout although Day put up a fight.
Cornwell delivered two rights along with a left hook that knocked out Day, slamming the back of his head on the canvas hard and prompting referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the fight without a count.
“On behalf of Patrick’s family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury,” DiBella said in a statement. “He was a son, brother, and good friend to many. Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”
Day received medical attention and was removed from the ring via stretcher where he was taken to an ambulance and transported to a hospital.
Day never regained consciousness. Day had a seizure at one point, and then lapsed into a coma before undergoing emergency brain surgery with doctors giving him very little chance for survival.
“During his short life, boxing allowed Patrick to impact many communities, both big and small,” DiBella said. “In his hometown of Freeport, Long Island, he was a beacon of light and the star pupil at the Freeport PAL, the gym he trained in from the moment he began boxing until the last bout of his career. He was recognized as one of Long Island’s finest professional fighters for years. He was a fixture in the boxing community throughout New York City. Patrick was even known in Japan, which he visited to spar with his friend and colleague, world champion Ryota Murata.”
The fight was streamed live on DAZN, who issued the following:
“DAZN is incredibly saddened to learn about the passing of Patrick Day,” a DAZN spokesman said in a statement. “Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
“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. I can’t stop thinking about it myself. I prayed for you so many times and shedded so many tears because I couldn’t even imagine how my family and friends would feel. I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you.”
“Before establishing himself as a world class professional fighter, Pat was a highly decorated amateur,” DiBella said. “He won two nationals titles, the New York Golden Gloves tournament and was an Olympic team alternate, all in 2012. Day turned pro in 2013 and overcame early career struggles to become a world-rated (junior middleweight) contender. He captured the WBC Continental Americas championship in 2017 and the IBF Intercontinental championship in 2019. In June 2019, he was rated in the top 10 by both the WBC and IBF.
“He was also a dedicated college student, having earned an associate’s degree in food and nutrition from Nassau Community College and, subsequently, a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness from Kaplan University.”
“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” DiBella said. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living. He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”
Dibella went on to say that he hopes Day’s death will lead to ways to make boxing a safer sport.
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” DiBella said. “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, 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. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us. Rest in peace and power, Pat, with the angels.”