September 22, 2005

Johnson dies from injuries sustained in title loss

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former world lightweight champion
Leavander Johnson died in hospital on Thursday, five days after
suffering brain damage in a title bout in Las Vegas.

The 35-year-old American collapsed while heading to his
dressing room after he was stopped in the 11th round of a
failed IBF lightweight title defense against Mexico's Jesus
Chavez on Saturday.

Johnson was rushed to hospital with bleeding on the brain,
where doctors performed emergency surgery, but he never
regained consciousness from a medically-induced coma.

His kidneys had failed and his heart had stopped beating
when it was decided to remove him from life support.

Hospital officials said family members were present when
the boxer passed away and they had made the decision to remove
the life support systems earlier in the evening.

Johnson's father was his trainer and his brother was his

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Johnson spent 16 years
as a professional boxer and finally won the 135-pound division
title in June, but was punished by Chavez in his first defense
before the referee stopped the contest.

He managed to walk from the ring on his own but began to
struggle as he got closer to the dressing room.

He was taken immediately to University Medical Center for
the emergency surgery and a second operation was performed on
Monday but there was too much damage to allow him to survive.