How did Jeanette Zacarias Zapata die? 18-year-old boxer passes away after bout
Mexican boxer Jeanette Zacarias Zapata died Thursday, September 2, after sustaining several blows to the head during her match with Marie Pier Houle on the weekend. According to event officials, she was just 18 years old.
The young athlete was rushed to a Montreal hospital moments after being knocked out by Houle at IGA Stadium at the end of the fourth round. The news of Zapata's demise was confirmed by GYM Gala International Boxing Event Promoter Group's Yvon Michel in a statement on Thursday, days after she lost consciousness in the ring.
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“It was great sadness and pain that we learned from a representative of her family that Janet Zacharias died at 3:45 pm today,” the statement read. “We would like to extend our deepest condolences to her family, loved ones, friends, and especially her husband Giovanni Martinez, who was at her bedside until her last moment.” Michel said Zapata's husband had declined to comment as he was "devastated and very upset."
Zapata and Houle touched gloves on Saturday night, August 28, at the IGA Stadium in Jarry Park, Montreal. Houle landed several punches on Zapata, who was standing defenseless in a corner at the end of the fourth round. The latter reportedly began convulsing before her trainer rushed to ring the bell. She lost consciousness within moments and began to cramp as medical personnel surrounded her. Zapata was rushed to the hospital, where doctors placed her in a medically-induced coma. According to Fox News, the teen boxer died with her doting husband by her side.
The Mexican athlete reportedly had to pass a neurological examination to qualify for the event after being knocked out in May. Her opponent Houle issued her own statement on Facebook.
“I have been devastated following the announcement of the horrifying news of Janet Zacharias Zapata’s death,” she wrote. “I would like to extend my deepest condolences to her family and spouse Giovanni Martinez. Thank you for respecting my desire to not comment further. The sad news that a great athlete like Janet Zacharias Zapata has left makes me sad and devastated. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to her family and her husband Giovanni Martinez. God is you May enlighten your soul and receive it in his glory."
The World Boxing Council also expressed its condolences in a statement. “The president of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaimán, and the entire boxing family affiliated with the WBC, as well as all boxing, mourns this irreparable loss. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jeanette. May she rest in peace," the statement read.
Meanwhile, critics of boxing inundated social media with calls to ban the sport.
"Boxing is a barbaric sport. Any sport with the express intent of beating a fellow human into submission must be banned!" one Twitter user wrote.
"At some point in the future, humanity will wonder how boxing was ever a sport," a comment read.
"Boxing is barbaric. It should be illegal for anyone under 25 because brains are still physically developing until then," another added.
Boxing is a barbaric sport. Any sport with the express intent of beating a fellow human into submission must be banned! Jeanette Zacarias Zapata: Mexican boxer, 18, dies days after knockout in Montreal https://t.co/lxxbEQOxGS— Tate Miller, PhD (@tatemiller48) September 3, 2021
At some point in the future, humanity will wonder how boxing was ever a sport.— Akshay Jaitly (@AkshayJaitly2) September 3, 2021
Jeanette Zacarias Zapata: Mexican boxer, 18, dies days after knockout in Montreal https://t.co/xbf7vAgPR1
Boxing is barbaric. It should be illegal for anyone under 25 because brains are still physically developing until then.— Professor Bee (@007BondNotJames) September 4, 2021
“Boxer Jeanette Zacarias Zapata dead at 18 after knockout”
Zapata's match with Houle was only her sixth professional bout.