New Zealand kick-boxer dies in debut bout


An experienced New Zealand-based kick-boxer has died in a Tahiti hospital after collapsing 32 seconds into his debut fight as a professional boxer, officials and his family confirmed Monday. Peruvian-born Willman Rodriguez Gomez, 29, was fighting Tahitian Karihi Tehei when he went down just over half a minute into the bout in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia on Tahiti. The French Polynesia Boxing Federation confirmed Gomez died in Papeete’s Taaone hospital an hour after being admitted late Friday. “Angels took him from this earth. Taken too soon doing something he loved with a passion,” the family said in a message on his brother Chino’s Facebook page. Gomez, who worked at a gymnasium in Auckland, was described as an experienced fighter of muay thai, also known as Thai kick-boxing, but was taking part in his first professional boxing bout.