Celebration of life held for late boxer

BOYLE — Edmonton fighter Tim Hague, who died after getting knocked out in the second round of a boxing match earlier this month, was remembered as a devoted father during a celebration of life service in his hometown of Boyle, Alta., on Monday.

Friends, fans, family and fellow fighters spilled out of the packed community centre where mourners gathered to honour the 34-year-old — father to his nine-year-old son, Brady, and a Grade 4 English teacher at an Edmonton elementary school.

“He was a great dad,” said his roommate, Aaron Teed. “Wherever he went, Brady went. They were best friends. With his students he had a great relationship with them. He really enjoyed it.”

His friend, Terry Hills of Kelowna, B.C., choked up as he recalled their time together.

“My kids gave him the lovable nickname ‘Fight Guy,’ and we just became friends after that. He’d come out and visit me every summer with Brady,” said Hills.

“He was a community boy. He was a proud Boyle boy. He loved the city of Edmonton.”

Hague died from injuries he sustained during a heavyweight boxing match against former Edmonton Eskimo player Adam Braidwood. A third-party investigation will soon be underway, looking at the actions of everyone involved, from promoters, to the referee and judges, to the commission that sanctioned the match.

Hague, listed at six-foot-four and 264 pounds, was able to leave the ring under his own power but was soon rushed to hospital. He underwent brain surgery but died two days later.

Many are questioning why the fight was allowed to go ahead when Hague had a history of concussions and knockouts, and why it wasn’t stopped sooner. Hague, who fought under the nickname the Thrashing Machine in mixed martial arts before turning to boxing, was a heavy underdog who accepted the fight on only two weeks’ notice.

Teed said he hopes Hague’s death will spark changes in boxing.

“I’m hoping that more attention is taken at taking a look before and after fights and how it’s affecting the brain,” said Teed. “There’s things in that area that definitely need to be looked at.”

Some believe Hague returned to the ring to make money for his son’s future. More than $50,000 has now been raised through an online fundraiser.

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