Boxing celebrity JACKIE KALLAN was "absolutely shocked" when she heard about fighter NAJAI TURPIN's suicide.

Kallan, who is a consultant on Sylvester Stallone's reality show THE CONTENDER, was a "den mother" to all the wannabe boxers on the programme and she took a shine to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, fighter Turpin.

The female boxing manager, who was portrayed by Meg Ryan in the film ON THE ROPES, admits she's still coming to terms with Turpin's death.

She says, "We really connected. All I know is he couldn't trust his girlfriend and he really loved their child. I can only imagine that they had a fight and she threatened to take his kid away."

Turpin was seen fighting to stay in the reality show on Sunday night (20MAR05). He lost and was ejected from the show.

Despite his hopeful last words on the show and Kallan's confidence that he would go and make something of his life, the wannabe fighter shot himself on 18 February (05) - two weeks before The Contender debuted in America.

22/03/2005 09:11