The cousin of boxer Tyson Fury has been stabbed to death in what police called a “senseless” and “unplanned” attack.
In a social media post on Sunday, the heavyweight boxing champion said his cousin Rico Burton was “stabbed in the neck” and called on the UK government to “bring higher sentencing for knife crime”.
Fury said those who carried knives were “idiots”.
Police in England said emergency services received multiple calls about a disturbance in Goose Green, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, at around 3am on Sunday.
Officers arrived at the scene to find a 17-year-old man and a 31-year-old man with stab wounds receiving first aid from members of the public before police and paramedics took over.
Both men were taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where the 31-year-old man died of his injuries while the 17-year-old remains in a serious but non-life threatening condition.
Greater Manchester Police Superintendent Ben Ewart later confirmed that the 31-year-old was Mr Burton.
Speaking to reporters, he said: “Can I take this opportunity first to pass on my sincere condolences to Rico’s family and friends, and also praise the members of the public who stepped in and provided first aid.”
Mr Ewart said the force has launched a murder investigation and specialist officers are supporting both families.
He said two men aged 21 and 20 have been arrested – one on suspicion of murder and the other on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and murder.
“This is without doubt a senseless attack and both victims should have returned home this morning after enjoying a night out with friends,” Mr Ewart said.
“Goose Green is a popular nightspot and would have been busy at the time and I appeal for anyone who was there overnight on Saturday August 20 or anyone with information about this incident, including phone photograph footage or videos, to come forward, in particular any friends of any of the victims or suspects who may have been out with them that night who has not yet come forward.
“We have increased police controls in the area and knife crime remains a priority for Greater Manchester Police, the devastating effects of which have been demonstrated this morning.”
Mr Ewart said the stabbing took place “spontaneously” and was “unplanned”.
Asked what police had been told about there being an argument, he said officers are continuing a “very live” investigation and it is a factor they are looking into.
On what police could say about the man who was killed, Mr Ewart said: “At this stage, I don’t know any further information. We are in contact with his family.”
He added: “Everything suggests, at this stage, he was out enjoying an evening with friends and this has taken place spontaneously and unplanned.
“So it’s a very, very tragic ending to what should have been a good night out with friends.”
Asked about Tyson Fury’s post, he said: “I am aware of the media circulation. I can’t confirm whether there is a connection with the family.”
Fury wrote on Instagram: “My cousin was murdered last night, stabbed in the neck this is becoming ridiculous … idiots carry knives. This needs to stop.”
He added: “Asap, UK government needs to bring higher sentencing for knife crime, it’s a pandemic & you don’t know how bad it is until 1 of your own!
“Life is very precious and it can be taken away very quick enjoy every moment … RIP RICO BURTON may the lord God grant you a good place in heven. see you soon.”
Steve Egan (60), chief coach at Jimmy Egan’s Boxing Academy where Mr Burton trained, said he was “devastated” by the news.
He told the PA news agency: “Rico was a lovely lad… (he) trained with us for five years, won two national titles, he was a fantastic boxer – a very relaxed and skilful boxer.
“He could (have) gone a long way in the professional boxing ranks – lovely lad, always smiling. One of the nicest lads you could meet.
“We are all devastated by this very sad news and really feel for all the family. RIP Rico Burton.”