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.
Former boxing champion Antonio Cermeno was kidnapped and killed in Venezuela. The former super bantamweight and featherweight champ was 44.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 25, 2014
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:
Wow! Just learned ex-world champ Antonio Cermeno has been kidnapped & killed! Enjoyed most of his fights. Crafty gladiator. RIP Champ.— ♕ (名) プリンシペ島 ♕ (@DennisPrincipe) February 26, 2014
Thinking about folks down in Venezuela. More awful news,former world champ boxer Antonio Cermeno kidnapped & killed. Que dios se lo bendiga.— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) February 25, 2014