The father of Irish MMA fighter Charlie ‘Hospital’ Ward has said “He didn’t go out to kill anyone, he went out to win his fight.” – after it emerged opponent Joao Carvalho died from injuries sustained in the fight.
28-year-old Portuguese MMA fighter Carvalho died from injuries after a technical knockout to Ward from Co Laois, a member of Conor McGregor’s team.
Carvalho, who had been critical in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, since the Saturday night fight, died at 9.35pm last night.
Ward hit Carvalho nine times after he went down during the fight in the Total Extreme Fighting 1 at the National Stadium in Dublin.
Ward’s father, Charlie Ward senior told RTE Radio’s Liveline: He didn’t go out to kill anyone, he went out to win his fight, but the referee could’ve been in a lot quicker…
Noelle, a friend of Ward’s, described how watching the bout against Carvalho – was like watching a fight at the “coliseum”.
Noelle told how she watched ringside – and though she got carried away with ‘adrenaline’ supporting her friend and shouting him on to win – it felt that if this violence had taken place in the street, “the guards would have been called.”
Ward senior said: Charles felt no way was he hitting him hard in the last round because he knew he had him beat.
“I have never been to a fight. I wouldn’t go. I don’t have interest. I was involved in boxing for years and I gave it up.
“Charlie always trained. He was at boxing for years. He wasn’t too bad at it. It’s very hard to say anything – the referee should’ve stopped that. It’s a different sport to boxing. You know the consequences when you get in there.
“I didn’t even see Charles’ fight. He’s a tough fella. He trained seven days a week for the last 20 odd years.
I can’t tell him what to do, I am not going to stop him. But he said I was stopping those punches because I knew I had him beat.
“This is serious. There is no point in not saying it’s serious. The head gear I wouldn’t worry too much about but I would about the gloves (being heavy.)”
Ward senior said the fighter’s mother was “in bits.”
Friend Noelle said: “It kind of felt like the coliseum. It felt like you’re cheering for someone and if you saw that on the side of the road, you’d call the guards.”
The fighter’s Team Nobrega issued a tribute to him on their Facebook page, labelled ‘death notice.’
Carvalho’s coach Vitor Nobrega said: It is with great sorrow and sadness that we write these words, that the death of the athlete João Carvalho happened after 48 hours in a critical condition.
Nobrega said that all “the safety rules,” had been “complied with” on the night.
Nobrega added that the “support” of the Irish was “appreciated.”
The Portuguese welterweight was left in a serious condition in hospital following his fight on Saturday night at Total Extreme Fighting (TEF) against SBG’s Ward.
Total Extreme Fighting CEO Cesar Silva said: “We extend our most sincere condolences to the family of João Carvalho’s and his teammates in Team Nobrega. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We’d also like to thank all sports fans for their concern and support.
“We will give whatever support we can to Joao’s family. We have been in contact with his family and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time.”
Minister for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said that he expects an investigation into the death.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Joao Carvalho following an event in the National Stadium on Saturday evening,” Mr Ring said.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to his family. I expect that there will now be an investigation and I do not propose to comment any further until the results of that investigation are known.”