Junior welterweight Maxim Dadashev died Tuesday morning as a result of brain injuries he suffered during an 11th-round knockout loss to Subriel Matias on Friday at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Dadashev was 28.
Donatas Janusevicius -- Dadashev's strength and conditioning coach -- and trainer Buddy McGirt confirmed Dadashev's death. Janusevicius had been with Dadashev at UM Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, since he was taken there after the fight.
"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. My mind is, like, really running crazy right now. Like, what could I have done differently? But at the end of the day, everything was fine [in training].
"He seemed OK. He was ready. But it's the sport that we're in. It just takes one punch, man."
A hospital spokeswoman issued a statement on behalf of Dadashev's widow, Elizaveta Apushkina, who made her way from Russia to the hospital in the Washington, D.C., suburbs Monday night.
"It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of my husband, Maxim Dadashev," she said. "He was a very kind person who fought until the very end. Our son will continue be raised to be a great man like his father. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone that cared for Maxim during his final days. I ask that everyone please respect our privacy during this very difficult time."
Atlas tears up while explaining Dadashev's impact
Just hours after the death of Maxim Dadashev was announced, Teddy Atlas tears up while explaining the impact of a boxer's death in the community.
Dadashev, whose purse was $75,000 plus his training expenses, faced Matias in a 140-pound world title elimination fight for the right to become the mandatory challenger for the belt held by Josh Taylor.
"Maxim was a terrific young man," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Dadashev's promoter, said in a statement. "We are all saddened and affected by his untimely death."
ESPN, which streamed the bout on ESPN+, also issued a statement.
"Our heartfelt thoughts are with Dadashev's family, friends, trainers and the team at Top Rank," the statement said.
McGirt lauded Dadashev's dedication to the sport.
"Great, great guy. He was a trainer's dream," McGirt said. "If I had two more guys like him, I wouldn't need anybody else because he was truly dedicated to the sport."
Dadashev's manager, Egis Klimas, posted a tribute to the boxer via his Instagram page.
View this post on Instagram
As you can see, he didn't leave us... He always will be in our hearts and memory as strong very discipline, very dedicated, true Champion. He lived with one dream, to become a Champion!!! In my opinion he still and always will be one! Hey Max just stay there and wait for us. R. I. P.
The fight was grueling, and Matias dominated. He landed numerous powerful blows to the head and body. Matias was ahead 109-100, 108-101 and 107-102 on the scorecards following the 11th round when McGirt stopped the fight, with Dadashev on the stool in a dramatic scene.
After the round, McGirt loudly told Dadashev, "I'm going to stop it, Max. Max, you're getting hit too much."
Dadashev shook his head to indicate that he did not want the fight stopped, but McGirt kept at it: "Please, Max, please. Let me do this. OK? OK? Look at me. Please."
Dadashev shook his head again, and McGirt said, "If I don't, the referee's gonna do it. C'mon, Max. Please."
McGirt didn't wait for another signal from Dadashev.
"That's it, Doc," he told the ringside physician. Then he turned to referee Kenny Chevalier: "That's it."
McGirt said he thought about throwing in the towel in the ninth round, but he knew he had to stop it after the 11th.
"I saw him fading, and when he came back to the corner [after the 11th round], my mind was already made up," McGirt said. "I was just asking him out of respect, but my mind was made up. I wasn't going to let him go out there."
Dadashev (13-1, 11 KOs), from Saint Petersburg, Russia, and based in Oxnard, California, needed help leaving the ring. He collapsed before making it to the dressing room and began vomiting. He was taken from the arena on a stretcher and was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery for two hours for a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain). Doctors hoped to relieve pressure on the right side of his brain, where most of the damage was, with the surgery and placed him in a medically induced coma to allow time for brain swelling to subside.
Dadashev, who began boxing at age 10, was a promising prospect. He was ranked No. 10 on the ESPN top prospect list at the end of 2017 following a standout amateur career in which he went 281-20 and was a silver medalist at the 2008 World Junior Championships. He claimed a silver medal at the 2013 Russian amateur championships and bronze medals at the same tournament in 2010 and 2012.
Managed by Klimas -- who handles such standouts as Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Sergey Kovalev -- Dadashev relocated to Southern California to pursue his professional career. He turned pro in April 2016 and eventually signed with Top Rank.
Dadashev began to make a name for himself in 2018 with back-to-back victories in his two most notable fights, a 10th-round knockout of former lightweight titlist Darleys Perez in June and a 10-round unanimous decision over former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco in October.
Dadashev knocked out journeyman Ricky Sismundo in the fourth round on March 23 to set himself up for the world title eliminator against Matias (14-0, 14 KOs), 27, of Puerto Rico.
ESPN's Mark Kriegel contributed to this report.