MMA fighter who was at centre of life support battle after ‘coward punch’ dies in Auckland

    Mixed Martial Art fighter Liufau Tu’iha’angana Vake who  was a victim of an attack in Central Auckland last Sunday morning 16 has died in hospital.

    Liufau Vake. Photo/Supplied

    A family member has confirmed his death to Kaniva News this morning.

    It came after he was put on ventilator while his family were praying for a miracle.

    Vake, 25, a fighter at City Kickboxing who trained with UFC champion Israel Adesanya – was left in a coma after being punched from behind in Symonds Street.

    Also known as Fau Vake, he died in Auckland Hospital with family by his side this morning, Police said in a statement.

    “Our thoughts are with his family at this incredibly difficult time”, it said.

    “Given the man’s death, further charges will be filed in due course.

    “Four men have already appeared before the Auckland District Court following the incident on 16 May at around 2.55am.

    “Police can confirm that we are not currently seeking anyone else in relation to our investigation.

    “The investigation team would still like to hear from anyone that witnessed the incident or events leading up to it.

    “If you can assist our enquiries, please contact Police on 105 quoting the file number 210516/8173”.

    A statement from City Kickboxing said: “It is with inexplicable sadness almost seven days to the hour after his hospital admission, Fau’s fight to find his way back to us ended.

    At this tragic time, the Vake family and City Kickboxing ask for time to grieve and reflect on the loss of Fau, a father, a son and a much loved brother to us all”.

    The father of one had been on his way home when the incident happened on Symonds St just before 3am.

    Vake’s death came amid fresh demands for tougher laws to tackle coward punches.

    UFC middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya, who is Vake’s main training partner, is calling for more serious consequences for “coward punchers”.

    Adesanya, who himself had his jaw broken in 2012 when hit from behind, wants to bring attention to the lack of legal recognition of the seriousness of the “coward punch”.

    “I am distraught. My gym brother may die because of the gutless actions of these men.

    “In the past decade there have been numerous deaths from punches thrown when people are not looking. Given the massive publicity these crimes have received, no one is dumb enough to think there is not a serious risk of death. There is no excuse, it should be considered attempted murder or murder.”

    City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman can’t understand why the issue has not been addressed sooner.

    “The Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria all introduced coward punch laws in 2014.


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