Former boxing champion Antonio Cermeno was kidnapped and killed in his native Venezuela, the Miami Herald reported Monday.
He was just 44.
Here’s what you need to know about this terrible tragedy:
1. He Was Found Shot to Death
Cermeno was found shot and killed in a road in the Venezuelan state of Miranda on Tuesday, according to local police chief Eliseo Guzman.
Former boxing champion Antonio Cermeno was kidnapped and killed in Venezuela. The former super bantamweight and featherweight champ was 44.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 25, 2014
No additional details have currently been made available about the identity of the kidnapper(s) or potential motive(s) behind this heinous crime.
Cermeno’s murder is similar to that of 29-year-old Monica Spear, a well-known soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela, who was killed in early January.
According to Sky News, Spear her British ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry were shot dead by assailants as they drove to Caracas with their daughter.
2. His Relatives Were Also Kidnapped, But Managed to Escape
Guzman said Cermeno, along with several of his relatives, were kidnapped near the La Urbina neighborhood in east Caracas. Cermeno’s relatives managed to escape when their assailants stopped to refuel the car. Antonio, however, remained captive.
3. He’s a Former WBA Super Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion
Cermeno was the World Boxing Association super bantamweight from 1995 to 1998. He also held the featherweight title for nearly a year from 1998 to 1999. His ring moniker was “El Coloso” — meaning “titan” or “giant.”
The WBA tweeted its condolences after the news broke on Tuesday.
We are sorry to hear about the death of former champion Antonio Cermeño, he was a great person. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/n9SwPYWI3i
— WBA (@NewsWba) February 25, 2014
Check out the video above to see Cermeno retain his super bantamweight title in a 1997 fight against Yuichi Kasai.
4. He Retired From Boxing in 2006
In 2006, Cermeno retired from boxing with an all-time record of 45-7 with 31 knockouts.
Boxing and MMA announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. recalled sharing many great memories with Cermeno via Twitter on Tuesday.
So sad to hear that former champ Antonio Cermeño was kidnapped and found dead. I had many great memories with him. RIP amigo
— Jimmy Lennon Jr (@TheClassyJr) February 25, 2014
5. He Worked to Help Young Venezuelan Athletes After Retirement
According to BoxingScene.com, Cermeno became devoted to social work, including helping young Venezuelan athletes, after retiring from boxing. He was specifically involved with “street boxing” programs, which endeavor to take at-risk youth off the streets and teach them boxing as a deterrent to drugs, violence and crime.