A Bulgarian boxer has died in the ring fighting under his cousin’s licence in Albania, prompting outpourings of grief for the wrong athlete.
Boris Stanchov, 21, took a £350 appearance fee for the bout against Ardit Murja, appearing under his cousin’s name, Isus Velichkov.
Stanchov was caught by a left jab before stumbling backwards and collapsing into the ropes beside his corner.
The youngster was rushed to hospital but is understood to have died from cardiac arrest.
The boxing world mourned the death of his cousin, Velichkov, before his true identity was revealed.
Velichkov told BTV Bulgaria: ‘Since 2018 he had been fighting with my card. He told me there was a problem, the coach knew. I don’t know why he fought with my card. He said he didn’t want losses on his name.’
Velichkov said he was shocked when he heard about his cousin.
‘He was fighting in a professional match, but he’s not in the heavyweight division, so you don’t expect such a terrible tragedy,’ he told the Bulgarian broadcaster.
The former president of the Bulgaria’s professional boxing union condemned Albanian practices, suggesting that Stanchov was being paid to throw the fight.
‘The Federation itself is a sham. The problem is, this boy had a ban. To avoid it, he played with someone else’s identity.
He got his fake license with the help of the federation, I guess, because there is no other way,’ Georgi Ezekiev told Sport Live.
He added: ‘They are weak, they play to lose.’
His mother said Stanchov’s dream was to be like legendary Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, who held the European heavyweight title twice between 2012 and 2016.