A veteran British boxing coach has died after collapsing in the ring during a charity fight to raise funds for a four-year-old girl battling cancer.
Jules Bevis, 55, who was the uncle of pro-wrestler Saraya was declared dead at the scene at the World Association of Wrestling Academy in Norwich, Norfolk, despite the efforts of paramedics and police on Sunday afternoon, October 3.
He is said to have died in the arms of his wrestler nephew Roy Bevis, who fights under the name Roy Knight, after suddenly collapsing in the ring.
Mr Bevis, who was nicknamed Jabmaster, was among more than 30 boxers described as ‘some of Norfolk’s favourite fighters from yesteryear’ who were lined up to take part.
The event was staged in a bid to raise £20,000 towards a £220,000 appeal to pay for treatment in America for Kayla Buttle, from Norwich, who has Neuroblastoma cancer.
Los Angeles-based Saraya, who formerly wrestled for the WWE under the ring name Paige, shared a tribute to her 2.7 million followers on Twitter, saying: ‘Sending love to my family right now back in the UK.’
She added: ‘Keep thinking about my uncle. What a wonderful human he was. Up until the end he had a heart of gold.
‘He was doing a charity boxing match at my dads wrestling PC raising money for a little girl for her cancer treatments. In the ring he collapsed & past in my brother Roy’s arms.’
Mr Bevis, who was a father and had a fiancée, Mel Bevis, was a Class 1 HGV driver and worked as a limousine and wedding chauffeur.
The tragedy was witnessed by hundreds of local boxing fans who paid £25 a head to attend the show, which was due to include an auction of memorabilia.
A Norfolk Police statement said: ‘Police are investigating the death of a man following an incident at a charity boxing match in Norwich.
‘Officers were called to the match in Diamond Road, Norwich at 3.47pm on Sunday to reports of a sudden death after a man in his 50s had become unwell during the event.
‘Emergency services including ambulance and police were in attendance but despite medical treatment, he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
‘The area has been cordoned off while officers investigate the circumstances of the death which is currently being treated as unexplained.’
Saraya’s mother Julia Hamer, a co-founder of the WAW academy, said in a Facebook post: ‘What happened today was surreal, I am numb, my sadness is overwhelming.
‘But, I have to mention the way Jules Tottenham Bevis was treated by the NHS Professionals, medics, paramedics, critical trauma and Norfolk Constabulary was just amazing.
‘The emotion that flowed from them when they had to stop was a sight to behold. They all hugged each other tears flowing because they couldn’t save him. Genuine Care and love.’
Ms Hamer, also known by her wrestling name Saraya Knight, added: ‘All the emergency services were just brilliant and I need to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. All the family are overwhelmed at your efforts.
‘For now my family are in deep shock, we are missing a piece and it hurts. I love you always Jules, RIP.’
Mr Bevis’ daughter Chantel Marie Bevis added in a post: ‘Thank you for everything today! I hope my Dad sleeps peacefully and knows how loved he was. X’