Mike Towell, boxer. Born: 12 September 1991, in Dundee. Died: 30 September 2016 in Glasgow, aged 25.
Dundee-born Mike Towell, one of British boxing’s rising stars, died in hospital last Friday, 12 hours after being taken off life support.
The previous night he had been fighting Welsh boxer, Dale Evans for the British welterweight title at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, when he was fatally injured.
The 25-year-old welterweight, known as “Iron Mike Towell”, had begun the bout in his usual attacking style, coming forward at Evans but leaving gaps, and was knocked down in the first round.
After going down again in the fifth of 12 scheduled rounds, Victor Loughlin, the referee, stopped the fight. Towell received treatment and was given oxygen before being stretchered unconscious from the ring, and taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where it was discovered that he had severe bleeding and swelling to the brain.
Born in Dundee, Michael Towell worked as a scaffolder but, inspired by freedom-fighter Che Guevara and boxing legends Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson and Roberto Durán, he was determined to fight for what he wanted – the Lonsdale Belt, given to boxers who win the British title. He bore tattoos of these “battlers and tough men”.
Over the years, Towell raised funds through social media to take time off work to train and head south to London, where he could find a better calibre of sparring partners.
Towell had fought 12 times before meeting Evans, winning 11 and drawing one and, according to his manager, Tommy Gilmour, he was “determined to get to title level as quickly as possible”. Last year, Gilmore said, “I don’t want to curb his enthusiasm too much, but I’ve been in this business 45 years and he needs to listen to me because I have his best interests at heart.”
Described as “one of the country’s best young prospects,” Towell, with his swashbuckling fighting style, was tipped to achieve his goal.
Ironically, Towell began his professional career in March 2013, at Glasgow’s Radisson Blu Hotel, beating Midland’s boxer Tom Bowen on points. Despite drawing his second fight he won his next ten, including eight KOs and winning the Scottish Area super-welterweight title on his third outing.
With his characteristic humour, Towell had declared that he was going to beat Evans – the bout was the latest match-up in a series of dinner-fight nights at the Radisson. “I’m going to go in, give him his dinner, put on my best performance and crack on to the British title,” Towell announced.
However, in the weeks before Towell’s last fight, his partner Chloe Ross said that he had been suffering from migraines, which they attributed to the stress of preparations, while a few weeks earlier he had stopped one sparring session because of a severe headache.
The boxer’s management team said they were not aware of any headache complaints leading up to the fight.
Gilmour said the world of boxing had lost a top fighter and a “very special man”, describing Towell as one of the best he had ever worked with.
Towell is survived by his partner Chloe and their son Rocco, who recently celebrated his second birthday.