USA Boxing investigating Grand Forks boxer’s deathEAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — USA Boxing, which sanctions amateur boxing in America, is investigating the death this week of Grand Forks boxer Jerimiah “J. J.” Moen.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Forum News Service
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — USA Boxing, which sanctions amateur boxing in America, is investigating the death this week of Grand Forks boxer Jerimiah “J. J.” Moen.
A regional Golden Gloves champion last year in Minnesota, Moen, 29, collapsed last Saturday between rounds of a bout at the American Legion Club in East Grand Forks.
It’s only the second death in Minnesota amateur boxing in memory, going back at least 70 years, experts say.
Julie Goldsticker, spokeswoman for USA Boxing in Colorado Springs, Colo., said an investigation is routine in such a case.
“In due diligence to the safety of all of our athletes, USA Boxing investigates all serious injuries that take place in boxing events,” she said in an email Friday. “We are currently investigating all the events that took place on Saturday, Feb. 16 in East Grand Forks.”
She can’t comment on details of the investigation yet, she said.
According to Moen’s coach Eddie Obregon, after the first round of a three-round super-heavy-weight bout Saturday, Moen walked to his corner and collapsed. He never regained consciousness.
Obregon, coach at the Forx Fighters gym, and others who saw the fight said there was nothing unusual in that round, which did include one blow that seemed to stun Moen about a half-minute in.
According to news reports, boxing experts recall only one other such death in Minnesota, and it has some similarities to Moen’s situation.
In February 1994, Donell Lindsey, 28, was injured during a three-round junior middle-weight amateur fight in St. Paul. He collapsed in the third round and never regained consciousness.
People involved said there hadn’t been any major blows during that last fight, but mostly “glancing” ones.
Like Moen, Lindsey was wearing the correct Golden Gloves equipment — headgear and mouth-guard — and he had been checked before the fight by a ringside physician.
Lindsey was taken to a hospital and declared “brain-dead” the next day.
Bruce Mathis, executive director of USA Boxing in 1994, said in a statement then that the chairman of the group’s medicine committee, a physician himself, had talked to the ringside physician. He “has concluded that all appropriate safety procedures were undertaken during the course of the tournament and in this particular bout,” Mathis said.
Obregon said he’s already talked with Minnesota boxing officials and expects to talk with USA Boxing officials during their investigation.
He and his 16 club members decided to close the Forx Fighters gym for a week after Moen’s death, he said. “We are going to evaluate it from there, after we get things settled with J.J., and stuff, what’s in the best interest of the club and the kids, and go from there.”
Anthony Bartkowski, executive director of the USA Boxing, released a statement Friday: “USA Boxing was extremely saddened to learn about the death of boxer Jerimiah Moen. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends for their loss.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of his loved ones and the local boxing community at this difficult time.”
Moen was born in Grand Forks, and raised on his family’s farm near Manvel. He farmed and also worked at snow removal in the winter. Moen and his fiancée, Megan Link, had planned to marry this summer, according to his obituary with the Gregory J. Norman Funeral Chapel.
A memorial service for Moen will be held today in the Eagles Club in East Grand Forks, near the American Legion where he often boxed. Family greeting time will start 1 p.m.