EUSEBIO PEDROZA, the boxer Barry McGuigan defeated to memorably become world featherweight champion in 1985, has died, aged 62.

The WBA announced the death of its former long-reigning champion, saying the Panamanian had been hospitalised as he battled pancreatic cancer.

A statement on the governing body’s official website said: “The World Boxing Association, its president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, and all of its executive committee lament the death of former Panamanian world champion Eusebio ‘El Alacran’ Pedroza.

“Pedroza died at 62 years of age. Initially he was confined in the hospital struggling with pancreatic cancer, but later he was sent home where he continued to fight until the final bell rang early this morning on the first of March.

“The WBA sends its most sincere words and condolences to the family and friends of the Panamanian legend, who was a worthy world champion and above all a great human being.”

Pedroza made a record 19 successful defences of his WBA featherweight crown between 1978 and 1985, when he was dethroned after being outpointed by Northern Irish fighter McGuigan.

A UK television audience of 19 million tuned in to witness McGuigan realise his world title dream, with Pedroza losing a unanimous decision at Loftus Road.

McGuigan wrote on Twitter: “A sad day for me as my rival and outstanding World Featherweight Champion Eusebio Pedroza passes away aged 62 RIP.

“Pedroza is one of the longest reigning Featherweight Champion in history, it was a pleasure to share the ring with him.”

After surrendering his belt and status as lineal champion to McGuigan, Pedroza had a further five bouts before retiring in 1992, ending a professional career that spanned nearly 20 years with a record of 41 wins, six defeats and a draw.