By Elisinio Castillo, photo by Marlon Hernandez
Salvadoran boxer Francisco 'Pantera' Ruiz died on Thursday at the age of 24 year in the Emergency Unit of Rosales Hospital in San Salvador, after being knocked out in the eight round by his compatriot Ricardo Cortez at the El Cifco Convention Center last Saturday.
Their bout was part of the card the World Boxing Association's "KO To Drugs" event, which featured the Colombian Liliana Palmera dethroning Venezuelan Alys Sánchez for the WBA female super bantamweight championship.
According to the reports, Ruiz was hit hard and fell to the canvas in a very hard way and upon impact his head bounced hard off the mat. He unconscious in the ring and immediately transported to a local hospital, where he remained until his passing.
With a 3-0 record and no knockouts, Ruiz fought for the first time in an eight round bout after having held his first three at the four round distance. His opponent, Cortez, came in with a record of 4 wins and a draw, plus two knockouts.
According to reports, the local promoter of the card and the WBA are going to cover the funeral expenses and they will also provide financial support to Ruiz's family.
As the owner of a motorcycle workshop in Ciudad Delgado, Ruiz had become a professional boxer in April and was he passionately devoted to the sport of boxing.
After fighting for his life for several days, it was determined on Thursday that Ruiz was practically brain dead and the condition was very unlikely to change - so the family decided to take him off life support.
His death was confirmed by Oscar Canjura , president of the Salvadoran Professional Boxing Association (ASALBOX).
"There was a previous medical diagnosis, starting on Sunday at 3 pm, where there was already mild neurological activity. He practically brain dead. I received a call from his coach, Rene Valiente, who was with Ruiz at the hospital," said Canjura.
"He was a tremendous prospect, he was a boy with a bright future, who loved boxing. The only consolation, as his mother says, is that he died doing what he loves. It's a risk that runs in every sport."