Argentinian boxer Mario Melo tragically dies after choking during croissant-eating competition
The boxing champion in the 80s and 90s, had famously been knocked out in the first round after challenging US boxer Michael Moorer for the WBA light-heavyweight world title in 1990
A former Argentinian boxing champion died tragically during a croissant-eating competition being held in the Atlantic coastal resort of Pinamar this past Sunday after one got stuck in his throat.
Despite the best efforts of those in and around the area, 56-year-old Mario Melo could not be saved.
According to the Daily Mail, the incident unfolded after he suffered complications during the contest about who could eat the most croissants in a minute.
When it became apparent that Melo was choking, several men reportedly began smacking the 1990 WBA light-heavyweight world title challenger on his back in an attempt to free his airways, but to no avail.
An autopsy confirmed that Melo had choked to death after his windpipe became blocked with the dough after it was initially suspected that he may have suffered some sort of reaction because of his diabetes.
Speaking about the incident to local media, one witness said, "It was terrible because this happened in front of lots of families with young children. The hosts were joking and saying the participants couldn't talk. They realized how dangerous it was but tried to minimize the risk."
"There wasn't even a glass of water to hand," he added. "Mario asked for one when he was struggling and almost couldn't talk and after that, he collapsed."
Journalist Christian Echeveria revealed that the local town hall did not specify that there was going to be a competition where participants would be encouraged to eat as many croissants as possible within a minute. He said a first responder had performed the Heimlich maneuver on a nine-year-old child to dislodge a croissant that got stuck in her throat during a similar competition for children, but Melo was wrongly only treated with CPR.
The boxer's friend, Miguel Ledesma, paid his respects to Melo after his sudden death and said, "People across Pinamar are sad because of the type of person he was, always helping people. He was very happy, he said he was going to eat croissants and he invited lots of people. We cannot come to terms with the way he went."
Melo, an Argentinian and South American light-heavyweight champion in the 80s and 90s, had famously been knocked out in the first round after challenging US boxer Michael Moorer for the WBA light-heavyweight world title in 1990. He had previously spoken of his diabetes and desire to get back into the ring.
"I miss boxing," he admitted. "When I was doing well and at the top of my game, I had a lot of friends. Now it's finished I feel alone. Everyone makes money, apart from the boxer."