Boxing coach Diego Arrua tragically passed away on Friday night in Tijuana, Mexico following a heart attack while ringside for his wife Sabrina Perez’s WBC interim featherweight title defense against Skye Nicolson. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed Arrua’s passing on social media. Arrua was 58.
“It is with deep sadness that we have been informed of the sudden death of Argentine coach Diego [Arrua], who suffered a devastating heart attack during the Sabrina Perez fight in Tijuana,” Sulaiman wrote on social media.
Diego Arrua was in Mexico for a Matchroom Boxing event inside Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutierrez. In the final moments of the ninth round, video of the match shows Arrua shouting instructions to his wife when he suddenly collapses. Panic immediately set in for Arrua’s fellow cornermen and fans at ringside. They quickly got the attention of the onsite medical staff who responded to the situation and moved Arrua onto a stretcher.
Life is so unpredictable indeed. Here is Sabrina Perez's husband Diego Arua less than 30 seconds before he collapsed coaching her wife until his last second of his life.
RIP Coach Diego Arua! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/7TvcB4ekyc
— OLE (@ajoaquinarieta) September 16, 2023
Unfortunately, by then it was too late. Arrua was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m. local time.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Sabrina Perez and your loved ones,” Matchroom Boxing wrote on X.
Diego Arua, the coach of Sabrina Perez, tragically suffered a fatal heart attack following her defeat to Skye Nicolson for the WBC interim title eralier today. Diego Arua passed away in hospital a short time later. RIP 🙏 pic.twitter.com/T2BkqV90Po
— Kayovid (@Kayovids) September 16, 2023
Skye Nicolson went on to win the bout and the WBC interim featherweight title via unanimous decision, but her victory came second to Arrua’s sudden passing.
“Victory overshadowed by tragic passing Team Perez coach Diego [Arrua] during the fight,” Paul Ready, Nicolson’s career-long manager, said in an Instagram post. “Our wishes and prayers with them and their family.”