Wife detained as suspect in former boxing champion’s death

Published 3:16 am Monday, July 13, 2009

SAO PAULO (AP) — The wife of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti was detained as a suspect by Brazilian authorities Sunday following his death at a posh seaside resort.

Police said 23-year-old Amanda Rodrigues was taken into custody after contradictions in her interrogation. Gatti’s body was found early Saturday in a hotel room at the Porto de Galinhas resort in northeastern Brazil.

The former junior welterweight champion was apparently strangled with the strap of a purse, which was found at the scene with blood stains, said Milena Saraiva, a spokeswoman for the Pernambuco state civil police. She told The Associated Press that the Canadian also had a head injury.

The investigation was not complete, but Saraiva said authorities were preparing to present a formal accusation against Rodrigues, who denied being involved in her husband’s death.

Police said Rodrigues, a Brazilian, could not explain how she spent nearly 10 hours in the room without noticing that Gatti was already dead.

Police were investigating witness reports that the couple fought and Gatti was drunk when he returned to his room Friday night, Saraiva said, adding that police were told the pair were extremely jealous of each other and that he constantly complained of her clothing when she traveled to Brazil.

Acelino ‘‘Popo’’ Freitas, a four-time world champion Brazilian boxer, told Globo TV’s Web site on Saturday that he was a close friend of Gatti and his wife and that he ‘‘knew they were having some sort of problem and were about to separate.’’