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The Harsh Reality Of Boxing: Kay Prosper Opens Up About The In-Ring Death Of His Friend Michael Norgrove

Full interview with Kay Prosper above.

The other day I had the pleasure of speaking to former English super lightweight champion and EBU title challenger Kay Prosper about his life and boxing career. In the interview, we discussed a variety of topics from childhood adversity, ring anxiety and life changing opportunities, but perhaps the most interesting segment came in the form of in-ring deaths.

You see, back in 2013 Kay had experienced the harsh realities of boxing, when his friend and training partner Michael Norgrove tragically passed away in his sixth professional outing against Tom Bowen.

Norgrove’s passing came after referee Jeff Hinds called a halt to the contest, 29-seconds into the fifth round, when he noticed Norgrove acting strangely. Within seconds, medics jumped into the ring and rushed him to hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage. Unfortunately, despite the doctors best efforts, Norgrove died nine days later on April 6, 2013.

“It was a real tragic situation” Prosper recollected. “We had been training together for over a year, year and a half, so me and him had built up a good relationship in that time, even though it was not a massive amount of time, with boxing, because we were both training for our fights a week apart, we were with each other every day. We were going out doing our running, we were going to the saunas, so I really got to know the guy in the two years that I knew him”.

“It was really upsetting, seeing it first hand, even if you’re not a boxer you hear about people dying and there being some tragedies, but obviously having seen it first hand and be it someone who’s so close to me, it did rock me to my boots really”.

When asked whether the tragedy had put any doubts in his mind about continuing with the sport, Prosper responded: “I literally took his stuff to the hospital and at first we thought it was something he was just going to wake up from, but we knew it was obviously dangerous. Then, after the days went by and going to the hospital and seeing that he wasn’t waking up, this is when it was almost like ‘wow, this could happen to me and this is very dangerous, the sport’ because obviously these things don’t really impact you until you actually experience it first hand.”

“Obviously yeah, I did have a little bit of doubt but this situation like other situations that I’ve had in my life, I think you try and spin it on it’s head and use the negative situation as a positive, and it actually allowed me to give it more energy and to give me more hunger, more determination to push on and to almost do it in his name.”

“You can’t play boxing, even though I was taking it seriously, that automatically made me take things even a bit more seriously and made me understand what I’m actually getting myself involved in.”


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