Boxer killed during fight in horror case of mistaken identity

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Boris Stanchov collapsed and died in the ring. Image: Top Channel Albania

Bulgarian boxer Boris Stanchov has collapsed and died in the ring while fighting under his cousin’s licence.

In a horror case of mistaken identity, it was initially thought that Isus Velichkov had died, only for it to emerge that it was his cousin Stanchov.

Sranchov collapsed during the fifth round of his bout against Ardit Murja in Albania over the weekend.

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Medical personnel immediately rushed into the ring to assist Stanchov, who was transferred to hospital but couldn’t be saved.

The WBC initially released a statement saying Velichkov had died.

"The World Boxing Council and its President Mauricio Sulaiman, lament the death of 21-year-old Bulgarian fighter Isus Velichkov,” they said in a statement.

"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."

According to reports in Albania, it was only when Velichkov came forward that it was realised that Stanchov had died.

Why Stanchov fought under Velichkov’s license

Velichkov told local media he thought Stanchov wanted to fight under his license so he wouldn’t get losses on his official record.

Stanchov is believed to have fought eight times for five wins.

“Since 2018 he had been fighting with my card. He told me there was a problem, the coach knew,” Velichkov said.

“I don't know why he fought with my card. He said he didn't want losses on his name.”

The Bulgarian sports minister said there would be a full investigation, while the former president of Bulgaria's professional boxing union suggested Stanchov was banned and that’s why he fought under a different name.

“The problem is, this boy had a ban,” Georgi Ezekiev told Sport Live.

“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.”