Fighter Dies After Golden Glory Sparring Session

By Tim Leidecker Nov 23, 2009
Vitali Mitu, of Soldanesti, Moldova, collapsed and could not be revived following a sparring session last Thursday with three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Semmy Schilt at Golden Glory’s gym in Bucharest, Romania, according to Romanian newspaper Gardianul. While initial reports by eyewitnesses claimed that Mitu, 22, broke down after receiving a knee strike to the chest by the 6-foot-11, 300-pound Schilt, an autopsy has since revealed otherwise.

“Mitu has suffered from acute interstitial pneumonia as well as a lung edema and acute bleeding,” Professor Dan Dermengiu, of INML “Mina Minovici,” the forensic institute of Bucharest, told Romanian sports site www.prosport.ru. “Our examination has not shown any type of chest pains. Also there are no traumatic injuries that have been caused by a strike, but only some minor marks stemming from the resuscitation attempts.”

Bas Boon, Schilt's manager, declined comment until after the fighter completes the K-1 Grand Prix on Dec. 5.

Schilt’s muay Thai coach, Dave Jonkers, has since posted on a Dutch message board and expressed his condolences.

“The incident was a sad end to two weeks of good, intense training,” the 54-year-old trainer wrote. “Vitali has been transferred back to Moldova today and will be laid to rest on Wednesday. Our prayers are with his family, trainers and teammates. Rest in peace!”

Schilt, 36, had been in the southeast European country to prepare for his quest to regain his crown at the K-1 World Grand Prix in Yokohama, Japan. Mitu, a political science student, had come to Bucharest seven years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a professional fighter.

“Fighting was his life -- that was the last thing he told me,” Mitu’s mother was quoted by Moldovan newspaper Unimedia.

Mitu is survived by his parents and a sister.
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