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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Rossland St. Andrew’s United Church planning for restoration

Rossland’s United Church has received a CBT grant to support a restoration of the Red Roof Church.

Winlaw man dead after collision near Slocan Park

Nelson RCMP are asking for witnesses after Sunday incident

Rossland city council sorts things out with museum

The Rossland Museum Discovery Centre has been growing its funding sources.

Lots to love this week at Joe Hill Coffee House

Here’s more to love from Joe Hill Coffee House and our talented local performers.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

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.

Fred Rogers, America’s favourite neighbour, celebrated in 2018

The golden anniversary of America’s favorite neighbor is being celebrated with a PBS special next month

Toddler breaks leg after boot sucked into escalator at Vancouver airport

A Calgary woman is reminding parents of the dangers of escalators after her toddler’s foot was stuck in one and he broke his leg

Moose creates uber Canadian Olympic moment

A Calgary man shares a truly Canadian moment on Twitter of a Moose enjoying the Olympics

Aboriginal employees sought by health authority

Interior Health sets goal to add 1,200 Aboriginal employees to workforce by 2025

B.C. drunk driver unknowingly drags snowmobiles along highway

North District RCMP stopped a driver Sunday near Prince George whose two sleds had fallen off a flat deck trailer and were being dragged along behind his truck.

Canada reacts to Cassie Sharpe’s Olympic gold

From Prime Minister Trudeau to Ryan Reynolds, congratulations abound

BCHL Today: Shorthanded scoring binge for Victoria Grizzlies and Krall named POW

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

Most Read