On Monday, roughly 40 hours after Nick Blackwell left the ring on a stretcher, the boxer remained in a medically induced coma but his prognosis was encouraging. When a cat scan revealed that there was no increased pressure on his brain, surgeons decided not to operate. However, Blackwell will likely remain in intensive care for a considerable period of time.
Blackwell’s bout with Chris Eubank Jr. was stopped in the 10th round on the advice of the ringside physician because of severe swelling over Blackwell’s left eye. Blackwell, who was making the third defense of his British middleweight title, absorbed heavy punishment during the fight while rarely taking a backward step.
Channel 5, which aired the fight live in the U.K., took steps to block the telecast and the replay from showing up on social media, but a clip surfaced on Facebook. The clip shows cornerman Chris Eubank Sr. giving instructions to his son before the start of the ninth round. The elder Eubank is heard saying: “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 on (Blackwell) like this, he is getting hurt….So maybe you shouldn’t leave it the referee. So you’re not going to take him out to the face – you’re going to take him out to the body.”
The elder Eubank, who was involved in a similar incident in 1991, leaving Michael Watson clinging to his life, is being hailed as a hero for his compassion. If he hadn’t dissuaded his son from throwing more head shots, the match may have proved fatal for Nick Blackwell. Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, defended referee Victor Loughlin, saying that Loughlin conducted the contest properly. (In one of his more recent assignments, Loughlin stopped the match between Anthony Joshua and Gary Cornish after only 90 seconds. Akin to Loughlin, the previously unbeaten Cornish was a Scotsman.)
Nick Blackwell, who turned pro at the age of 18 with virtually no amateur experience, has a 23-year-old brother who is also a boxer. Daniel Blackwell is 7-54 but has suffered only one loss inside the distance.
The Boxing Channel family sends wishes for a strong and fast recovery to Nick Blackwell.