By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]

A damaging blow may have been dealt to major boxing matches coming to Maryland after the death of a fighter during a nationally televised card at MGM National Harbor.  

Junior welterweight Maxim Dadashev died July 23 as a result of brain injuries suffered during an 11th-round knockout loss to Subriel Matias on an ESPN/Top Rank event in Oxon Hill. Dadashev was a 28-year old rising welterweight prospect who was reportedly “fighting for his green card” in hopes of bringing his family from Russia to the United States.  This was a 140-pound world title elimination fight for the right to become the mandatory challenger for the belt, which is currently held by Josh Taylor.

Junior welterweight Maxim Dadashev died July 23 as a result of brain injuries suffered during an 11th-round knockout loss to Subriel Matias at MGM National Harbor. (Courtesy Photo)

Most ring observers don’t believe the fight could have been stopped any sooner.  Matias was dominating and Dadashev wasn’t showing much resistance before the end of the 11th round. He had been nailed by a series of consistent head blows and relentless body shots throughout the fight, but showed enough defense the referee was reluctant to stop the fight.

His trainer, Buddy McGirt, was seen during the live broadcast between the 10th and 11th rounds asking if he could continue for a final round defend himself during the continuous onslaught. Dadashev offered little response and McGirt then had the ring doctor stop the fight. The late Russian boxer was losing on all three judges scores by the fight’s conclusion. 

ESPN boxing analyst and multiple world champion Timothy Bradley was emotional when analyzing the series of events in the fight’s aftermath regarding the immediate attention in the ring before Dadashev collapsed on his way back to the dressing room. Bradley held the WBC light welterweight title twice between 2008 and 2011, the WBO light welterweight title from 2009 to 2012, and the WBO welterweight title twice between 2012 and 2016. During an appearance on SportsCenter Bradley questioned why it took so long for adequate treatment to reach after Dadashev was seen “stumbling” and “vomiting” while leaving the ring.

“Buddy McGirt stopped the fight at the right time,” Bradley said. “After that where was the care? That’s the only problem I have.  I feel they dropped the ball right there.” 

A source speaking on the condition of anonymity told the AFRO that this wasn’t the first time a severely injured fighter was inhibited from getting immediate treatment during a fight card at the venue.  In April, first responders experienced difficulty as they tried to get a stretcher to the ring. However, the unnamed boxer – for privacy reasons – survived.

Dadashev was taken to University of Maryland at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland. He underwent surgery to relieve pressure from his brain.  However, two days later he passed away.

McGirt, a former two-time world champion himself, was commended for stopping the fight when he did.  Nonetheless, the loss of Dadashev was a painful loss.

“It just makes you realize what type of sport we’re in, man,” McGirt told ESPN. “He did everything right in training. No problems, no nothing.”

“Great, great guy. He was a trainer’s dream. If I had two more guys like him, I wouldn’t need anybody else because he was truly dedicated to the sport.”