Boxer, 20, who died after bout had never fought before, reveals mother (VIDEO)
The mother of a "perfect" college student who died in a charity boxing match days before his 21st birthday has revealed that her son had never fought before and alleged that the bout referee and judges were seen drinking.
University of Las Vegas student Nathan Valencia, 20, died four days after appearing at an event raising money for a youth boxing club.
Although the coroner has classified Valencia's death as a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head, his family's attorneys have said that they will "leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life."
"I kept asking him: 'are you going to be protected or are you going to be wearing headgear?'" Valencia's mother, Cynthia, told CNN. "He said, 'of course, this is for charity'."
"He was saying 'mom, you know you worry too much – this is just a charity event.' So I come to find out he was going to be the main event and I was like, 'how did this happen?'
"But he kept telling us that this was for people who didn't have prior boxing experience because he was never a boxer. He truly was just doing this because it was for a charity."
Valencia's grief-stricken mom said the youngster's girlfriend had received a call informing her that the fight was over.
“We have videos showing the referee was drinking, as well as the judges during the event,” the mom of Nathan Valencia told us. The UNLV student died after participating in a charity boxing match hosted by a fraternity earlier this month. pic.twitter.com/thoZqt0VY5— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) November 29, 2021
"They think Nathan suffered concussion because he had collapsed," she said. "We rushed to the hospital.
"We heard he was laying on the floor waiting for paramedics for about 15 minutes because they didn't have paramedics on standby at the site."
The family alleges that organizers "pulled some random guy" to be referee. "We have videos showing that the referee was drinking, as well as the judges, during the event," Valencia claimed.
Nathan Valencia was a registered organ donor. His family sent me video of the honor walk at the hospital, moments before his organs would be donated. This was Thanksgiving Day as they said their final goodbyes. #organdonation#organdonor More to come shortly on @8NewsNow. pic.twitter.com/4cSUvVlPLo— Vanessa_Murphy (@Vanessa_Murphy) November 29, 2021
Valencia's father, Michael, said: "If there had been a safety protocol, my son would be at the house. He would be 21, we would be celebrating his birthday."
Representing the Valencias, attorney Nick Lasso said: "This was an event that was known to the university. It's been held many times.
"The school absolutely had notice of this and apparently care of concern for safety regulations, making sure the referees were professional and there were paramedics on site. There were safety failures at every single step of this process."
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL: Family and friends gather to honor Nathan Valencia, the UNLV student who died following his fraternity’s amateur ‘fight night’ event. pic.twitter.com/MiwM1Lv8FX— Kay Dimanche (@KayNews3LV) November 28, 2021
In a statement, said its members had "heavy hearts" because "heaven gained an angel."
"His strength and kindness never went unseen and we were so thankful to have him as a brother.
"Please pray for his family and be thankful for the ones around you. May his soul rest easy."
.@unlv President sent the university community a message about Nathan Valencia.As @8NewsNow first reported, he died after a fraternity boxing match. Event was off campus, but what this letter doesn’t mention is, according to social media posts, weigh-in was ON campus @8NewsNowpic.twitter.com/WWyegGiriC— Vanessa_Murphy (@Vanessa_Murphy) November 26, 2021
University President Keith E Whitfield emphasized that the match was held off-campus and said that his institution was "shocked and heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own".
"Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and loved ones. I am sure words cannot describe their feeling of grief and emptiness," Whitfield said. "They are in our thoughts during this very difficult time."
Valencia's mother added in her interview: "To me, he was perfect. He was god's greatest gift to us.
"Everyone was drawn to him. He loved life. He lost his life so tragically – it could have been avoided."