THE BOXING world is rallying support for Nick Blackwell after the deposed British middleweight champion was placed in a medically induced coma following his TKO defeat to Chris Eubank Jr in the 10th round of their Championship fight on Saturday.
The 25-year-old from Wiltshire was taken out on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask. On Sunday Robert Smith, British Boxing Board of Control Secretary, said “I spoke to one of the doctors this morning and he said there is a bleeding of the brain.
“He’s in intensive care, he’s in an induced coma and he is resting and being looked after by the experts.”
There is an unavoidable sense of fate surrounding the events, although it should be made clear that there is every chance Blackwell will emerge safely and soundly from his plight. Chris Eubank Jr is the son, out to make a name for himself, of famous British fighter Chris Eubank Sr who did battle with Nigel Benn in a series of brutal bouts in the early 1990’s.
By his own admission, Eubank Senior’s personality, fighting style and career changed dramatically after he left Londoner Michael Watson in a forty day coma and with permanent disabilities after their tragic 1991 fight.
“If the referee doesn’t stop it, then I don’t know what to tell you. But I will tell you this: if he doesn’t stop it and we keep beating him like this, he is getting hurt and, if it goes to a decision, why didn’t the referee stop the fight? I don’t get why.”
Those are the prophetic words spoken by Eubank Sr, now head coach to his son, in between rounds, as commentators and spectators alike were awed by Blackwell’s bravery but disturbed by the unnecessary length of the beating.
Eubank Sr also instructed his son to aim for the body, although this also could have been a tactical ploy.
Referee Victor Loughlin will come under criticism for failing to stop the bout earlier, as will Blackwell’s corner, but the difficulty in apportioning blame is that in reality Blackwell fell victim to his own bravery. Though suffering a beating he remained competitive to the very end and was the defending champion after all.
Thoughts and prayers have been expressed for Blackwell’s speedy recovery on Twitter by Eubank Jr, Lennox Lewis, Tyson Fury and George Groves among others.