Graphic photo after the story. Viewers discretion is advised.
Lagos State boxing champion, Phillip Eugene Hope, was on Saturday taken out of Rowe Park’s swimming pool dead by lifeguards attached to the facility.
Eugene won the gold medal for Orile Agege in the 75kg category at the recent Ibile Games and had been tipped by boxers, coaches and referees as potential world champion.
Tribunesport gathered from two of the lifeguards at the pool that Eugene was reluctant to pay the mandatory N500.00 (five hundred naira) required for the use of the facility.
“He said he could only offer one hundred naira and the fact that we saw him in Lagos colours encouraged us to let him in,” said one of the guards, who added that two other boxers who came in with Eugene paid the required fee.
“He even told us he was not interested in swimming but that he was at the poolside to relax ahead of his bout at the Lagos Monthly Boxing Show usually held at Rowe Park.”
However, Tribunesport’s investigation later revealed Eugene was not in the shedule of bouts lined up for the night.
Eugene, it was gathered, plunged into the 121/2 ft depth of the pool taking the guards who were attending to an injured swimmer, unawares.
Sunday Lucky,one of the two boxers who came in with Eugene, was in the pool when Eugene jumped into the water.
“He made a sommersault, so I didn’t know he was a beginer-swimmer,” said Lucky who alerted the guards that somebody was in the pool and when it was discovered that Eugene was no longer on his seat, with his phone, purse and belongings on the table, the guards informed the pool’s manager who asked that they searched for him inside the pool where his body was later discovered.
The manager promptly called one of the doctors attached to Lagos State Sports Council, Dr George, who pronounced Eugene dead.
Chairman, Lagos Boxing Association, Monsuru Liasu, got in touch with the state’s Director of Sport, Dr Kwesi Tandoh, to inform him of Eugene’s death.
However, a search on Eugene’s pair of trousers revealed that he had a sum of N7,010, passport photographs and two ATM cards of a first-generation bank in his possession.
Meanwhile, his telephone continued to ring while Lagos State sports officials continued to browsed his phone to inform relatives of his death.
His body was later taken to the mortuary by a Lagos State ambulance service.