New Brunswick

Boxer David Whittom dies after 10 months in a coma following Fredericton fight

Boxer David Whittom, who has been in an artificial coma since May 2017, died at the age of 39.

Boxer had been in artificial coma since May 2017

David Whittom, a native of Saint-Quentin, N.B., died after being in a coma for 10 months. (David Whittom/Facebook)

Boxer David Whittom, who has been in an artificial coma since May 2017, has died at the age of 39.

His death was confirmed by his relatives on Friday.

"With a broken heart in a million pieces, I announce to you my friends that my David Whittom has joined the angels and my mother this afternoon," said his partner, Jelena Zerdoner in French. 

The athlete turned 39 years old on March 10.

Injured in Fredericton fight

Whittom, a native of St. Quentin, N.B., lost in the 10th round to Gary Kopas of Saskatoon in a match for the Canadian Professional Boxing Council cruiserweight championship that was held in Fredericton.

Whittom began to experience severe headaches several minutes after the fight. He was taken to the Saint John Regional Hospital where he underwent surgery after doctors detected a hemorrhage on the left side of his brain.

Whittom was then placed into an artificial coma.

It's a shock

Eric Martel-Bahoeli said he didn't want to lose his friend, David Whittom because of boxing. (Radio Canada )
Longtime friend and fellow boxer Eric Martel-Bahoeli spoke with Radio Canada.

"It's not easy, it's been 10 months that we knew he wasn't well....It's a shock, it's extremely difficult, But at the same time, now that he's dead, of course it's hard, but in some ways I tell myself it's probably better like that. But at the same time, we didn't wish for that either. I didn't want to lose my friend because of boxing," Martel-Bahoeli said in French. 

"I hoped he'd wake up and talk to me again, even if he would have talked slower, you know."

Martel-Bahoeli, who lived in Quebec City, said Whittom was a man who was afraid of nothing. "He was passionate about his sport."

The boxer is getting ready for a fight on April 7, and says if he wins there, he's going to dedicate that win to Whittom. 

Last fight 

David Whittom, on the left in this picture, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fight in Fredericton on May 27, 2017. (Ellen TS Photography)
Days after the fight, Kopas said he questioned the referee about keeping the fight going when he saw that Whittom was in bad shape. But he also wanted to win, so he threw a few more haymakers — punches to Whittom's head —​ until the referee jumped in, he said.

In October, the New Brunswick Combat Sport Commission said an internal review found no wrongdoing or neglect with the boxing match

Brandon Brewer, the organizer of the May 2017 boxing match, offered his condolences on Facebook.

"He always taught me to stay positive and stay focused no matter what," Brewer wrote. 

With files from Radio Canada, Canadian Press