Authorities investigate Filipino American UNLV student’s death following charity boxing event

UNLV student death investigated

Police have launched an investigation into the death of Nathan Valencia, a junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) who succumbed to his injuries following a charity boxing event last week.

What happened: Valencia, who never had any proper training in the sport, participated in a boxing charity event organized by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. The event was held at the Sahara Event Center on Nov. 19, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal.

  • Joe Castro, a friend of the Kinesiology student, recalled the moment before Valencia collapsed following his match. Speaking to KLAS, Castro said the 20-year-old student, who fought in the charity’s main event, “couldn’t even walk to the middle of the ring.”
  • According to Castro, who went to the event as a show of support, Valencia “was wobbling, like dazed, like he couldn’t even walk straight.” He continued, “That’s when I knew something’s wrong right there. We gotta get a medic as soon as possible.”
  • Valencia was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where he died on Nov. 23. A neurosurgeon told his family that he had internal bleeding. The student, a registered organ donor, could help at least eight people with his organs, his family learned.
  • The student’s mother recalled how she opposed his decision to join the boxing event, but he reportedly refused to be swayed, saying it was for charity. Proceeds from the Kappa Sigma Fight Night were given to Center Ring Boxing, a gym that helps and trains troubled youth.
  • UNLV President Keith Whitfield confirmed Valencia’s death in a statement on Friday and vowed to commit “all available resources to review the incident and determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible.”
  • Valencia was supposed to turn 21 on Saturday and had plans to celebrate at Las Vegas-area nightclubs. Instead, his family honored him in a candlelight vigil. A GoFundMe campaign was organized to help the student’s family cover medical and funeral expenses.

Major safety concerns: In a statement, the family’s attorney, Nick Lasso,  discovered with his firm that there were “multiple safety measure failures” that UNLV and Kappa Sigma Fraternity had overlooked, such as a lack of medical professionals at the venue.

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  • We will be completing a full investigation to determine how UNLV and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity could allow and promote an event like this to take place,” a statement from the family’s attorney read. “College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat. ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ is an event that has been held annually and was well known to both UNLV and the national Kappa Sigma Fraternity. We will leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life.”
  • World Boxing Hall of Fame referee Richard Steele also shared some insight into the tragic incident. In an interview with KLAS, Steele mentioned that the person in the ring with the boxers was not a professional: “He wasn’t in the right position most of the time.”
  • Steele also pointed out the lack of medical support at the event: “You got to have an ambulance. You got to have a professional doctor.” 

Featured Image via GoFundMe

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