Sunday, May 28, 2023  |


Mike Towell repeatedly requested brain scan, says girlfriend

Fighters Network

Chloe Ross, the long-term girlfriend of tragic Scottish boxer Mike Towell, has given her first interview since the Dundee welterweight passed away due to injuries sustained in a bout against Welshman Dale Evans on Sept. 29 in Glasgow.

Towell was knocked down twice before being stopped in the fifth round at the Radisson Blu Hotel. The 25-year-old collapsed moments later and was rushed to a hospital but he succumbed to a severe brain injury the following morning.

In a heartbreaking Facebook update, Miss Ross claimed that her partner had been experiencing headaches in the lead up to the biggest contest of his career, and she has now revealed the lengths she says the boxer went to in order to obtain a proper diagnosis.

“Michael pulled out of his sparring session because the headache was so bad,” said Miss Ross in an interview with the Sunday Mail in the U.K. “Straight away, his coaches said, ‘You’re not fighting – you need to get this seen.’

“He was taken straight to Dundee, to Ninewells (Hospital), but they said it wasn’t an emergency. But if you put ‘boxing’ and ‘headache’ in the same sentence, surely that should be enough.

“He was lying on the floor in the waiting area with his hood up, reduced to tears and saying, ‘My head is going to explode, it’s really not right. I know something is wrong.’

“Staff just said he shouldn’t be there and he needed to see his (doctor). They said it sounded like a migraine.

“Michael said, ‘You need to scan me. I know that it’s not right.’ But he was given co-codamol (headache medication) and sent on his way.

“He went to his mum’s (house) and lay in a dark room. Later that night, he seemed fine. But he (said), ‘How’s it not an emergency? I’ve just been hit in the head and I’ve never experienced a headache like that before.’

“He’d been fighting since he was 15. He wasn’t a complainer so it must have been bad for him to go to (the hospital) about it.”

Towell made an appointment with his doctor, who agreed with the migraine diagnosis and arranged for the boxer to have a blood test. Inexplicably, his family is still waiting on the results.

Miss Ross continued, “The doctor gave him aspirin, which I’ve heard could actually make bleeding on the brain worse, but refused to scan him and sent him away.

“He said the aspirin helped a little but he still woke every morning with a headache. From Sept. 11 — that’s when he went to the hospital — he never sparred again.


“Mike believed he was having migraines – that’s what the doctor told him. Obviously he didn’t realize how bad it was. He did have the symptoms of a migraine but doctors should have checked him.”

Miss Ross also disclosed that Towell was dehydrated from weight loss, which would have further exasperated any pre-fight injury.

“Check weigh-in was at 3 p.m. and he had to lose it by 5 p.m.,” she said. “He was in the sauna, jogging with a sweat suit on. He did lose the weight but said he was shaky. He would have been because he hadn’t eaten.”

Towell was unbeaten in 12 fights prior to the tragic bout with Evans. With that said, the Scotsman was still on the short end in terms of paydays and Miss Ross was incensed by those who implied that the fighter ignored his condition for a fight purse.

She said, “People said it’s Mike’s fault because he never told anyone (about the headaches) and that’s what’s got to me the most.

“He did tell people and did go to the doctor. Mike didn’t keep his headaches away from anyone. I heard him on the phone having conversations about them. He said to Ninewells two or three times to scan him and they refused.

“A lot of people have said he was only interested in (the money). He wasn’t on that much money – we’re talking the low end of four figures, certainly not something worth risking your life over.

“Don’t get me wrong, he had the money spent in his head — a holiday to Mexico was top of the list — but he still worked as a scaffolder. He wasn’t making enough to box full-time.”

Miss Ross has a 2-year-old son with Towell and the boxing community has rallied hard in recent weeks to provide financial support for the family. Former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton set up a “Just Giving” charity page online, which reached a total of £46,810.

Another charity event, organized by Scottish boxing trainer/ manager Billy Nelson takes place today in Airdrie, Scotland.

“We’d been together nine years in January, since we were kids,” said Miss Ross. “He didn’t have his first fight until he was 16, so I’d been there since the start.

“Boxing was good for him because it stopped him drinking and going out every weekend. He’d go training instead. He was dedicated to the sport.

“I’ve read a lot that boxers know the risks but I don’t think any boxer thinks he’s going to die. They think you might break your ribs or your jaw, a broken nose, but not this.”

Mike’s family have asked NHS (U.K. National Health Service) Tayside bosses to explain why he didn’t receive a brain scan.

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said, “We have received a complaint and we are in direct contact with the family.”

This reporter has forwarded the entire story from the Sunday Mail to Las Vegas physician Dr. Margaret Goodman, who has lobbied hard to make pre-fight MRI scans a mandatory procedure.

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for and a member of the RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing