Jeanette Zacarias Zapata: Mexican 18-year-old dies five days after fight as Headway calls for boxing ban

Jeanette Zacarias Zapata: Mexican 18-year-old dies five days after fight as Headway calls for boxing ban

09/03/2021

Jeanette Zacarias has died aged 18

Mexican boxer Jeanette Zacarias Zapata died on Thursday five days after being injured in a Montreal ring. Organisers said that the 18-year-old died from injuries sustained in a bout with Marie-Pier Houle on Saturday night at IGA stadium.

Zapata suffered a series of power punches in the corner of the ring and, after a solid uppercut, the Mexican seemed stunned near the end of the fourth round. A final right hook caused Zapata’s mouthguard to fly out and left her unable to return to her corner after the bell rang.

Zapata, who appeared to convulse while still standing, was joined by her partner and trainer Jovanni Martinez, who quickly laid her down in the ring. The on-site medical team rushed to her side and she was immobilised on a stretcher before being rushed to a hospital by ambulance.

Yvon Michel, president of fight organisers Groupe Yvon Michel, said in a briefing on Sunday that Zapata was placed in a medically induced coma to sedate her and relax her body and brain, adding that the following two to five days would be “critical.”

A statement from the promoters announced that she had subsequently died in hospital on Thursday.

Her opponent Houle offered her condolences in a post on social media. “The news of the departure of a great athlete like Jeanette Zacarias Zapata leaves me sad and devastated,” she wrote. “I offer my sincere and deep condolences to her family and husband Jovanni Martinez. May God enlighten your soul and receive it in His glory.”

British-based Brain injury association Headway has again called for a ban on boxing after the death of the teenager.

“It is impossible to imagine the grief being felt by the husband and family of such a young woman with her entire life ahead of her,” Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, said in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to all who loved her.

“This tragedy was preventable. This precious life need not have been cut short.”

Headway and other organisations recently gave evidence to a British Parliamentary inquiry into concussion in sport and asked why boxing was not under “greater scrutiny”.

“We asked, if Parliamentary committees and sports bodies are considering bans or limits on heading footballs, why are we still allowing people to repeatedly punch each other in the head with great force?” McCabe said.

“We explained the consequences – as we have repeatedly done for decades – and yet no one seems willing to address the clear, obvious and unacceptable dangers of boxing.

“Make no mistake: this tragedy will be repeated time and time again until boxing is banned.”

Agencies

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