Kiwi fighter dies in boxing match in Tahiti

06:07, May 07 2012
Willman Rodriguez Gomez
DEAD BOXER: Willman Rodriguez Gomez, on the right, died in a Papeete hospital.

A New Zealand-based fighter who died in Tahiti after collapsing 32 seconds into his bout was an experienced kickboxer making his professional boxing debut.

Peruvian-born Willman Rodriguez Gomez, 29, was fighting Tahitian Karihi Tehei in a light weight fight at the Min-Ah Boxing Club.

Tahiti's Radio 1, which was running a live commentary on the fight, said that Gomez had pushed Tehei onto the ropes. There was some punching, but no hooks, when 32 seconds into the fight Gomez collapsed into convulsions.

It said he was quickly attended by emergency services who took him to the major hospital at Taaone.

Gomez was dead on arrival and Radio 1 said sources told them, there had been "poor management" while he was taken to hospital.

The radio said Gomez had not been bleeding from any blows and medical authorities were now checking whether there were other health issues before the fight.


An autopsy was to have been conducted yesterday and judicial authorities had opened an inquest. A New Zealand coach with Gomez - Aucklander Eugene Bareman - has remained in the French territory.

After the incident boxing continued. A later bout saw Walker defeated by Tahitian Tamaititahio Temoo.

Bareman apparently stayed at the venue to support Walker, then went to hospital and discover Gomez had died. He would remain in Tahiti and return home with the boxer's body.

Gomez's father was understood to have flown to Tahiti, Fairfax Media was told.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was aware of the death of a New Zealand citizen in Tahiti.

The New Zealand Consulate-General in New Caledonia is liaising with the honorary consul in Tahiti to help the family get information on repatriation arrangements.

The spokesperson said staff are also providing consular assistance to the family.

Fairfax Media