Singapore: A 32-year-old Indian-origin bodybuilder in Singapore died, an hour after he stepped into the ring for his first-ever Thai kick-boxing bout.
Pradip Subramanian had taken on YouTube personality Steven Lim, 42, in the ''celebrity" Muay Thai match at Marina Bay Sands for the inaugural event of the Asian Fighting Championship Saturday evening.
Subramanian, president of the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation (WBPF) Singapore, had replaced former "Singapore Idol" runner-up and singer Sylvester Sim, who pulled out of the match citing to insurance issues.
The bout was over in five minutes after the referee noticed Subramanian's nose bleeding. He then called off the fight and declared Lim the winner.
Subramanian took a few blows on his head, but was still standing after the match ended. Later he appeared to be losing consciousness while in a corner, and had to be helped out of the ring, reported The Straits Times.
"In the first round, it seemed like Pradip was winning. But in the second round, Steven punched him a few times," said a backstage staff member who did not want to be named.
"Initially I thought it was just a concussion plus there was no sign of a heart attack. He was then sent to hospital via the ambulance. It was much later that I heard the news that he died."
Lim paid tribute to Subramanian on Facebook, saying: "Rest in Peace, my really truly respected fearless warrior and fighter."
Official details about Subramanian's death were awaited, Singapore media said.
Event organizers Axseed Events and Muse Fitness Club, Singapore said, "We are deeply saddened to share the news that Subramanian, exhibition match-up fighter and president of the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation of Singapore (WBPF) has passed away at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on September 23."
"We are in close contact with the medical staff at the hospital to ascertain the cause of death and request that during this difficult time we should come together and extend our support to Subramanian's family, friends and associates and refrain from any speculation," they added.