Jerimiah "J.J." Moen, 29, dies during boxing match
At left, Moen leaves the ring after winning a fight last March.
Jerimiah "J.J." Moen, the 2012 Golden Groves Tri-state champion, collapsed after the first round of a Saturday afternoon super-heavyweight boxing match against Matt "Bubba" Fowler in East Grand Forks. He lost consciousness in the ring and never regained it before being pronounced dead Wednesday.
Moen's trainer says there wasn't a particular forceful punch that led to Moen's collapse. Later reports indicate that coming into the fight, Moen had "serious" undiagnosed brain trauma.
"He was into his jab, moving around" during the first of what was to be a three-round bout, [Eddie Obregon, Moen's longtime trainer, said]. "When the bell rang, he stumbled to his corner and turned to the corner man."
It was then, the Grand Forks trainer continued, that the corner man said to Moen, " 'Are you OK?' "
" 'I think I'm done,' " Obregon said his boxer responded.
While still on his stool, Moen's legs started to quiver, Obregon said. "I called for the doctor" assigned to the bout, he added, and numerous other medical professionals came to the boxer's aid as he lay sprawled on the canvas. A call to 911 was made within a minute of the fighter going down...
The previous ring death in Minnesota occurred in February 1994, when 156-pound amateur Donell Lindsey took several blows to the head and collapsed in the third round of a bout in St. Paul [he was later determined to have died from traumatic brain injuries]. Like Moen, Lindsey never regained consciousness.
The Forum News Service details what doctors later learned about the state of Moen's brain going into the fight:
[Mike Sweeney, J.J.'s uncle] said the family learned that Moen had "serious trauma" to his brain from previous injuries, including concussions.
"We don't know if it was from boxing or other things," he said. "In no way is anyone blaming anybody. Nobody foresaw this. Obviously this will open the eyes of everyone in boxing that maybe they've got to have maybe a little more testing and things like that."
Moen, who weighed just over 200 pounds and was wearing the headgear required for amateur boxers during his last bout, leaves behind a fiancée.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.