Turkish boxer who once competed on Tyson Fury undercard, dead at 29

Cem Kilic was a promising Turkish super-middleweight boxer. He recently passed away at the young age of 29.

Born in Germany, Kilic moved to Los Angeles as a teenager in order to advance his boxing career. In recent years, he has struggled with mental health problems and PED abuse.

The Turkish Boxing Federation president Eyup Gozgec acknowledged Kilic’s death on Friday and paid respect to him. According to Boxing Scene, the cause of death seemed to be an apparent overdose.

Gozgec said: “We have learned the news of the death of one of our former national boxers. We wish patience to the grieving relatives. Rest in peace.”

Making his professional debut in 2014, Kilic engaged in 18 matches. Notably, his encounter with Steven Nelson in January 2020 stood as his sole defeat. This was after a victorious undercard bout against Martez McGregor during Tyson Fury’s memorable win over Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas in 2019.

Kilic had an impressive record of 17-1, boasting 11 victories by knockout. His last match was in August 2022, where he defeated Marco Delgado by unanimous decision.

His untimely demise prompted an outpouring of heartfelt tributes from various figures within the boxing community.

Kilic’s former manager and close confidant Shane Shapiro expressed profound sadness at the loss. He talked about their shared journey and the profound impact Kilic had on his life.

Kilic wrote: “Never thought I would be writing something like this right now. I am in shock. RIP Cem Kilic, the first fighter that took a chance on me, someone who moved from Germany to Los Angeles, lived with me 7 years and was part of my family. Those who know, know.”

“Me and Cem were always side by side… we had so many highs and lows, and didn’t always see eye to eye, but the memories we made together will never fade. You will always be remembered… RIP “Champ” Cem Kilic. We went to war together.”

Kilic trained out of the Wild Card Gym, which gained fame in America when Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao trained there under the tutelage of the late coach Freddie Roach.

The Wild Card shared a message on Instagram after learning about Kilic’s demise.

They wrote: “We so very deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Cem Kilic. Gone far too soon. Our condolences to the Kilic family and to all those affected by his passing. Rest in peace, Cem. You will be greatly missed.”

In a statement posted on X, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman also expressed his sympathies to Kilic’s family.

He wrote: “Our prayers go to the family and friends of Turkish fighter Cem Kilic who passed away during this holiday season. May he rest in peace.”