Boxer and Victoria resident Adam Braidwood says he told opponent Tim Hague that he loved him after their fight Friday night in Edmonton. Hague, seated, later died from injuries sustained in the bout. (Twitter)

Victoria trainer Adam Zugec devastated following boxer Tim Hague’s death

Zugec was in fighter Adam Braidwood’s corner during fatal fight with Hague

Adam Zugec says there’s a common saying among boxing and mixed martial arts trainers that fighters need to be protected from themselves.

“My job as a coach is to make sure that fighters don’t put themselves in positions where they could get hurt,” he said.

On Friday night in Edmonton, Zugec was in Victoria resident Adam Braidwood’s corner when the fighter delivered what proved to be a fatal blow to Tim Hague in the second round of their heavyweight bout. Hague, an ex-UFC fighter who had reportedly been knocked out in a fight as recently as December, died two days later.

Zugec, who trains fighters out of Zuma Martial Arts and Fitness in Vic West, spoke to the importance of the relationship between trainer and fighter in an interview with Black Press on Tuesday, while making it clear that he wasn’t familiar with Hague’s coaching situation.

“I’ve had people decide to not train with me because I wouldn’t let them fight, and I’m okay with that … I treat every situation that my fighters are in as though they could die and I think when you take it that seriously, you take precautions,” he said.

Days later, the events that transpired that night still didn’t feel real for Zugec, who says he gave Hague a hug and wished him well moments before the start of the fateful bout.

“I really am at a loss. I’ve lost a friend and I think right now we’re just really concerned for Tim’s family and we’re concerned for [Braidwood],” he said. “Here’s a guy that’s changing his life through boxing and now this happens.”

Braidwood, a former first overall pick of the Edmonton Eskimos, took up boxing after serving time in prison for a sexual assault charge. By all accounts, the 32 year-old has gotten his life together since then and found redemption in the ring.

“I take responsibility for everything that I did,” he told the Montreal Gazette earlier this year.

“I have guilt about the whole thing. A lot of people have to live with the damage [I inflicted]. I hurt a lot of people I care about. I’ll never really be proud of myself.”

Braidwood appeared to be on the verge of tears when he put out a video statement on his Instagram account yesterday offering his condolences to Hague’s family and asking the public to support them.

“Tim and I were friends. We spoke beforehand. We just wanted to make a beautiful fight for everyone,” he said.

Zugec says that he, Braidwood and fellow trainer Sarah Kaufman have leaned on each other over the past few days and that they are receiving counselling. He added that the support Braidwood has received from the public has helped.

“I think the support has made all the difference in the world. It would be so easy for someone to succumb to something like this, and I know I did. My first reaction was ‘that’s it, I’m done. I’m never coaching a professional fighter again,’” Zugec said.

“At least in my experience it’s been 100 per cent support [from] people really authentically hurting for us, knowing that we are all friends and that we were friends with Tim and that this is the last thing we wanted.”

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter: @joelgazette

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

How the provincial budget will play out in northwestern B.C.

Price of gasoline to rise and expect MSP premiums to disppear

Snow bikers have a lucky escape on Claque Mountain

Their experience highlights the importance of being properly prepared in the backcountry

Access to naloxone kits made easier

They’re now available from pharmacies

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Cariboo woman raises funds for Seizure Investigation Unit beds at VGH

VGH Foundation gets VCH approval to begin fundraising for SIU beds; local efforts are paying off

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadian’s to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

Most Read