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Ex-champ succumbs to injury

GREG Page, a former heavyweight boxing champion who suffered a severe brain injury in a 2001 fight, has died at his Louisville home in Kentucky. He was 50.

His wife, Patricia Page, said she found the one-time World Boxing Association champion dead on Monday morning. Patricia Page said he died of complications related to injuries he suffered in the fight.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jim Wesley said Page had slid from his hospital-type bed, as Wesley said he would occasionally, sometime between 3am and 5am, when his wife found him, and that his death was consistent with positional asphyxia.

Page was found sitting on the floor with his head lodged between the bed and the rail, Wesley said. Patricia Page immediately moved him to try to resuscitate him, Wesley said.

Page said her husband "is in a better place now."

The March 9, 2001, fight left Page in a coma for nearly a week. He then had a stroke during post-fight surgery. He was paralyzed on his left side and received intensive physical therapy.

Page won a US$1.2 million settlement in 2007 with Kentucky boxing officials over the lack of medical personnel at the fight. Boxing officials also agreed to establish a medical review panel for the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority to check the health conditions of people involved in the sport who may be at risk for injury.

Larry Bond, acting executive director of the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority, said part of Page's legacy will be his contributions to boxing safety in the state.

"He was a true champion who will be sorely missed both in and out of the ring," Bond said.

Page started fighting while growing up in Louisville and was sparring with Muhammad Ali by the time he was 15. He became the National Golden Gloves heavyweight champion in 1978 at age 20.


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