Patrick Day, the American boxer who has tragically died after being knocked out in the ring by opponent Charles Conwell, was remembered as a smart and well-educated 27 years old who was one of Long Island’s finest fighters. He was considered a role model for Freeport youth.
From a police athletic league to college to the ring, Day drew admirers for his values as well as his fighting style. The cause of death was a traumatic brain injury that came in the 10th round of a Chicago bout on October 12, 2019 at Wintrust Arena. Boxing promoter Lou DiBella confirmed that Day had died in a statement he posted online. Day was a Junior middleweight boxer.
“Patrick Day passed away today, October 16, 2019, succumbing to the traumatic brain injury he suffered in his fight this past Saturday, October 12, at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL.,” the statement read. “He was surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team, including his mentor, friend and trainer Joe Higgins. On behalf of Patrick’s family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Day, Who Was Remembered as the ‘Kindest of Souls,’ Ended Up in a Coma From the Blow to the Head
Day’s promoter told BoxingScene: “Of all the kids, Pat was the one who didn’t need to fight. Great accomplished family, college guy, great looking… had so much promise outside of boxing. What a great kid.” The article described him as the “kindest of souls.”
According to NBC News, the blow that ended up being fatal knocked Day unconscious. He underwent brain surgery but “slipped into a coma” and never woke up, the network reported.
ESPN reported that Conwell, who hails from Cleveland and is a U.S. Olympian, knocked Day out with “two rights and a left hook.” He was rushed from the arena in a stretcher and taken to the hospital but suffered a seizure before he got to the ER, according to ESPN.
Day was also knocked down in the fourth and eighth rounds, Yahoo Sports reported. The 10th row blow bounced his head “off the mat,” according to Yahoo, which added that he was “17-4-1 with 6 KOs in his career.”
On October 4, 2019, in his last visible Facebook post, Day wrote, “Not everyone on this earth is a good person. Some people go out of their way to release negativity. That’s bc of how bad they feel about themselves and how rotten they are internally. But I’m just glad that there’s more positive people who spread love and healthy vibes, than there are negative people who project bad energy.”
On Facebook, his father’s page indicates the family has roots in Haiti.
In March, Day wrote on Facebook, “Tunnel vision, locked in on my goals.. I will fight any contender in the top 10 ? it makes no difference to me. Tag any names below of who you want to see me fight next. I gotta get that bag ? I don’t have time to cherry pick like the rest of you suckers.”
2. Conwell Wrote an Open Letter to Day That Started ‘I Never Meant for This to Happen to You’ & Called Day a ‘Fighter at Heart’
A distraught Charles Conwell took to Instagram to offer an open letter to Patrick Day. “This is my last time speaking on the situation because of this being a sensitive topic not only for his family and friends but for myself and the sport of boxing,” Conwell wrote.
Here is the letter:
Dear Patrick Day,
I never meant for this to happen to you. All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would no one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you. I can’t stop thinking about it myself I prayed for you so many times and shedded so many tears because I couldn’t even imagine how my family and friends would feel. I see you everywhere I go and all I hear is wonderful things about you. I thought about quitting boxing but I know that’s not what you would want I know that you were a fighter at heart so I decided not to but to fight and win a world title because that’s what you wanted and thats what I want so I’ll use you as motivation every day and make sure I always leave it all in the ring every time. #ChampPatrickDay With Compassion, Charles Conwell
People offered support for both Conwell and Day in the comment thread. You can see Day’s professional boxing record here.
3. Day Grew Up Training in a Long Island Police Athletic League Gym & Was a Highly Decorated Amateur Who Was an Olympic Team Alternate
Patrick Day was from Long Island, New York. According to BoxingScene, he started boxing in high school when he didn’t make the basketball team and trained initially at a Police Athletic League gym in his hometown. In September 2019, Day wrote his Freeport coach happy birthday wishes, writing, “Thank you for your time, belief, and your sacrifice over the years. Not only to me but to the countless kids who’ve walked through the doors at Freeport PAL.”
A Freeport man who knew him wrote on Day’s Facebook page, “Patrick, I am so proud of you! I can still recall our discussion in Mr. Starrett’s english class when you told me that you were going to be a boxer and you stuck with it! I know you will be the champ that’s in your heart soon! Keep up the great work man! You are definately (sic) a great role model for your peers and the kids of Freeport and the world is yours!”
The promoter’s statement described how Day was a highly regarded amateur fighter first.
“Before establishing himself as a world class professional fighter, Pat was a highly decorated amateur. He won two Nationals titles, the New York Golden Gloves tournament and was an Olympic Team alternate, all in 2012. Day turned pro in 2013 and overcame early career struggles to become a world-rated super welterweight contender,” the statement read.
“He captured the WBC Continental Americas championship in 2017 and the IBF Intercontinental championship in 2019. In June 2019, he was rated in the top-10 by both the WBC and IBF.”
4. Day Earned Degrees in Nutrition & Wellness & Was a ‘Star Pupil’ at His Hometown Gym
The promoter wrote that Patrick Day “was also a dedicated college student, having earned an Associate’s degree in Food and Nutrition from Nassau Community College and, subsequently, a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Wellness from Kaplan University.”
He was a “son, brother, and good friend to many. Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met. During his short life, boxing allowed Patrick to impact many communities, both big and small,” the statement said.
“In his hometown of Freeport, Long Island, he was a beacon of light and the star pupil at the Freeport PAL, the gym he trained in from the moment he began boxing until the last bout of his career. He was recognized as one of Long Island’s finest professional fighters for years. He was a fixture in the boxing community throughout New York City. Patrick was even known in Japan, which he visited to spar with his friend and colleague, world champion Ryota Murata.”
In November 2018, Day wrote on Facebook, “Exactly 2 years ago, when there was a cloud of doubt surrounding my boxing career- I rose above it and had one of the greatest nights of my life in the boxing ring. I didn’t only prove to the public that I was still in the game, but I proved it to myself. I proved to myself that I had world class ability and still belonged in this sport. Beat a top 10 world ranked fighter and looked great doing it. I am forever grateful and thankful for this moment in my life. 11/26/16 is a day I will always remember. Rebirth of Pat Day. My career still lives. Onward and upward.”
5. His Promoter Says Patrick Day ‘Didn’t Need to Box’ & Day Called Himself a ‘Lover of Life’ on Facebook
On his Facebook page, Day wrote that he was a “Lover of life.” In March, he wrote, “Everyone believes in God whether they like to admit it or not. Ever see an atheist start praying to God when things go wrong? ?? God is far away listening like ‘yea iight, keep that same energy ?.'”
Patrick Day “didn’t need to box. He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living,” the statement by the promoter read. “He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”
it continued: “It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this. This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action. While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate. This is a way we can honor the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us. Rest in peace and power, Pat, with the angels.”
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