Former middleweight champion boxer Nick Blackwell is reportedly in a coma after suffering a head injury during a title fight in London with Chris Eubank Jr. After slugging through 10 rounds, a referee was forced to step in and stop the fight after concerns over extreme swelling in Blackwell's left eye, according to Sky News. Following the event at the O2 Arena, Blackwell was spotted receiving medical attention and was later administered to hospital after suffered a 'bleed to the brain'.
British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith told media that Blackwell is now in an induced coma, but stressed that is 'normal procedure' in this type of situation. "It is our understanding that Nick has a bleed on the brain and is under observation by hospital staff. We will just have to wait and see what the hospital says," he told Sky Sports.
After the fight Eubank Jr said: "I was hitting him with some big shots and the referee saw fit to let the fight go on. Looking back now, maybe he should have stopped it earlier."
The boxing community was quick to express condolence and concern on social media – including Eubank Jr who tweeted: "You put up a great fight tonight. Proved yourself a true warrior, wish you a quick recovery and a speedy return to the ring."
English professional middleweight boxer Anthony Ogogo said: "My thoughts are with @nickblackwell02 and his family. A true gent and warrior of our sport." While English flyweight champion Charlie Edwards wrote: "Prayers go out for Nick Blackwell hope you pull through mate sad to hear this!"
Eubank Jr's father, Chris Eubank, was involved in a similar situation nearly 25 years ago after winning a fight with boxer Michael Watson that resulted in the then-champion being left in a comatose state due to a blood clot. In the near-fatal accident, it took over 40 days before Watson regained consciousness and he spent six years in a wheelchair.