A Peruvian kickboxer fighting out of New Zealand died after he dropped to the mat during his debut bout in Tahiti.
Kickboxer Willman Rodriguez Gomez’s family is devastated after the 29-year-old collapsed just 32 seconds into his debut fight on Monday.
The experienced muay thai and kickboxing fighter was more than holding his own at the start of his match against Tahitian fighter Karihi Tehei, getting his opponent on the defense quickly. However, shortly after the start of the bout, Rodriguez Gomez collapsed to the floor and began convulsing.
Emergency services attended to him quickly and he was taken to the major hospital in Taaone. His autopsy proved inconclusive and now his family has a lot of questions.
His brother Chino Rodriguez Gomez wants to know why his brother was even in the ring with Tehei, a fighter with more than 80 fights under his belt and a gold medal from the 2011 Pacific Games.
“On paper it’s a mismatch,” he says. “Anyone could see that, and we want answers. Who picked my brother out of the bunch to say he could fight this person?”
Tahitian media is reporting Rodriguez Gomez took a left hook to the head before falling to the ring floor, and Lance Revill of the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association told 3 News, “He’s gone over with a very small punch, so it sounds like he’s had some hard sparring in his gym prior to going over there. He’s had some head knocks and he hasn’t had a medical clearance leaving the country to fight in the first place.”
The fighter’s body is expected to be returned to New Zealand on Sunday, as Rodriguez Gomez held New Zealand citizenship.