A contestant who was injured competing in the Rough N Rowdy Brawl amateur boxing tournament died Wednesday.
Willie Pedersen was 34.
After sustaining a hard punch during his second fight of the tournament on Feb. 4, Pedersen began showing concussion symptoms and was rushed to the hospital where doctors performed an emergency craniotomy to relieve pressure due to brain swelling.
He remained in a coma until his death.
He graduated from Socastee High School and was co-owner of Honest Auto Service in Socastee.
“There’s not a soul in this world that could have a bad thing to say about that man,” said his wife Melissa Pedersen. “He was kind and nice to everybody he ever met.
“He’s always smiling,” she said. “The only wrinkles he has are around his eyes and mouth from smiling. He’s a really great guy. Just nice to everybody.”
Travis Pritchett, the best man at Willie and Melissa Pedersen’s wedding, described Willie as “one of the most honest, hardworking wonderful people,” he’d ever met.
“Everybody has that one best friend that you can rely on, trust on, talk to about anything, that you absolutely really trust,” he said. “You have a lot of acquaintances growing up through life but you always have that one friend, and he’s that one friend for me.”
Ryan Wagner, Willie’s business partner, said it was “impossible” not to like Willie.
“Willie has always been the most level headed, thoughtful person I have ever met,” he said. “That is why he is loved by so many people. He would do anything for you at anytime. Always has a smile on his face and even when things are not going so well, he would stay calm, keep moving forward and get through it.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the medical bills.
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian