7 May 2012

Colleague of New Zealand boxer who died in French Polynesia says death is a shock

4:52 pm on 7 May 2012

The boxer who featured in a tournament in French Polynesia where a young New Zealand boxer died says the death is a shock.

Willman Rodriguez, who was 29, was rushed to a Papeete hospital after he collapsed 32 seconds into his first professional boxing fight.

The French Polynesian Boxing Federation says Mr Rodriguez, who lived in Auckland, was boxing against Karihi Tehei, who also had his first professional fight.

New Zealand super heavyweight, Jason Walker, says he didn't see the fight but he heard his colleague had been knocked out.

He says he tried to travel to the hospital but the promoters of the fight took detours which meant they were delayed.

The gym where Mr Rodriguez trained, City Kickboxing, is raising funds to bring the body back to New Zealand.

The spokesperson for the gym didn't wish to comment further until he had spoken with the family.