Venezuela’s Antonio Cermeno was kidnapped on Monday in Caracas, Venezuela and found shot to death the next day, police said. (AP Photo/Jim Laurie, File)

Former world champion boxer Antonio Cermeno was found shot to death on a road in Venezuela, police said Tuesday.

Local police chief Eliseo Guzman said Cermeno, 44, and other relatives were kidnapped near the La Urbina neighborhood in east Caracas on Monday night. His family members managed to escape when the kidnappers stopped to refuel the car, but Cermeno remained captive.

Cermeno, a World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight and featherweight champion in the 1990s, retired from boxing in 2006 with a record of 45-7.

His death comes less than two months after former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her ex-husband were shot and killed in the mountains of western Venezuela in an apparent robbery attempt. 

Violent crime has been rampant in the South American nation, where deadly anti-government protests have been ongoing for weeks.

In 2011, the United Nations ranked Venuezla as having the fifth highest homicide rate in the world.

Many people shared their condolences for Cermeno on Twitter: