Bulgarian boxer Boris Stanchov has died while competing under his cousin’s name and license, it has emerged, after it was widely reported that it was his relative Isus Velichkov who had tragically passed away in the ring.
Stanchov died while facing featherweight Ardit Murja in Albania on Saturday night, reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest in the fifth round.
It was initially reported that his cousin, 21-year-old Velichkov, had been fighting as the bout was in his name and his license and medical records were said to have been submitted.
But reports in Albania and elsewhere have revealed that Stanchov was in the ring, supposedly fighting under his cousin’s name for some time in order to build up experience and avoid adding any losses to his name.
“He has been playing with my card since 2018. He said no problem, the coach knows,” Velichkov later came forward to reveal.
Stanchov had appeared unsteady on his feet early on in the bout, before being floored by a left jab from Murja.
Stanchov lay unconscious on the canvas as medical teams rushed in and was taken to hospital, although staff were unable to revive him.
The World Boxing Council even released a statement mistakenly paying tribute to Velichkov after the reports that he had been the one to die.
“The World Boxing Council and its President Mauricio Sulaiman, lament the death of 21-year-old Bulgarian fighter Isus Velichkov,” it read.
“Although the ring doctors did their best to save his life, the death was almost immediate. The entire WBC joins Velichkov’s family at this very sad time, in deepest sorrow.”
The Bulgarian boxing authorities are investigating the tragic circumstances leading to Stanchov’s death.
In July this year, Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev died at the age of 28 from the brain injuries he sustained in a fight in the US. In the same month, Argentina’s Hugo Santillan, 23, passed away after collapsing at the final bell of a bout, with heart failure later given as the cause of death.