World-renown professional Turkish boxer Sinan Şamil Sam, a former heavyweight champion, died on Oct. 30 at a hospital in Istanbul. He was 41.
Şam had been under treatment at the hospital for liver failure.
The former champion’s family said the doctors did everything they could to keep Şam alive and his funeral would be held in Ankara on Oct. 31.
Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç said in a written statement that Şam had made the Turkish nation proud.
“We are deeply sorry that the national boxer, who achieved many major successes during his glorious career, died in intensive care despite all efforts,” the statement read.
Şam, a nine-time Turkey champion during his amateur era, turned professional in 2000, one year after he won the World Championships in the Super Heavyweight in Houston.
He won his first 18 fights, including victories over Przemyslaw Saleta, Danny Williams and Julius Francis.
In 2003, he suffered his first professional defeat to Juan Carlos Gomez and lost the following fight against Luan Krasniqi.
In 2005, he beat Lawrence Clay Bey to set up a fight with Oleg Maskaev, a fight which he lost on points by unanimous decision. After the loss to Maskaev, he defeated Saul Montana in 2006 but then lost a World Boxing Council (WBC) eliminator to Oliver McCall in June 2007.
After three more victories against limited opponents, Şam fought Paolo Vidoz on July 4, 2008, and won the fight by majority decision to win the European Boxing Union (EBU) Heavyweight title.