Tributes have been paid to Darren Sutherland, the Irish Olympic medal-winning boxer who was found dead at his apartment in London yesterday.

The 27-year-old was found by his promoter Frank Maloney, who himself is recovering in hospital after having a heart attack.

"On behalf of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association I would like to express my condolences to Darren's family.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this moment,” said IABA President Dominic O’Rourke on the association's website.

"Darren came up through the ranks with us. Even as a youngster you could see that he had the talent to go places.

"He represented his country with distinction every time he stepped in the ring and he was very proud to be capped for Ireland at all levels. This is a tragic loss for Irish sport and we are all deeply saddened."

James Degale, the fighter who beat Sutherland in the Olympic semifinal last year and went on to win the gold, also expressed his shock and tragedy.

"It is very, very sad news. I just could not believe it; my heart went to the floor when I heard. He was a big part of my Olympic medal journey and it is just terrible," the middleweight told Sky News.

Minister for Sports Martin Cullen said: "Ireland has lost a sportsman of wonderful ability, a clever and popular man with a future of real potential."

Hall of fame boxer and former world champion Barry McGuigan said: 'It is an absolute tragedy. I would describe Darren as a phenomenal talent. I believe he would have become a world champion in the professional ranks one day.'

Irish boxing analyst Mick Dowling also paid tribute to the fighter when he spoke to RTE Radio Tuesday:

"When he got into the ring there was a great buzz, there was something going to happen," said Dowling."One of the things that made him so exciting was that he has great great power in those two hands of his."

"I don't think what happened him here had anything to do with the pressures of him having to deliver in boxing because he was going to deliver one way or the other, he was that good. 

"I did predict that he would be a world champion and I was convinced of that because he had the skill he had the drive and he had the power as well."

Though he won his Olympic bronze at middleweight, Sutherland campaigned as a super middleweight in the pro ranks and was 4-0 at the time of his death.

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