Eduard Gutknecht was rushed to the neurological unit of St. Mary’s Hospital in west London in an ambulance last night (Nov. 18) after collapsing in his dressing room following his loss to George Groves at Wembley Arena. According to the German news site “Bild.de” Gutknecht underwent a successful operation for swelling on the brain. Thomas Putz, the President of the German Boxing Association, confirmed that Gutknecht suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
The 34-year-old Gutknecht, a Germany-based Kazakhstani, is a former European light heavyweight champion. He lost that diadem to German countryman Juergen Braehmer. In March of this year he met Braehmer again and lost a unanimous 12-round decision in a failed bid to lift Braehmer’s WBA world light heavyweight title. As an amateur, Gutknecht defeated Gennady Golovkin.
Gutknecht and Groves were competing for Groves’ WBA International 168-pound title. Their 12-round contest was the main event of an 8-bout card. It aired live on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom
Groves, one of England’s most popular fighters, won lopsidedly. The scores were 119-109, 119-109, and 119-110. There were no knockdowns, but Gutknecht absorbed a great amount of punishment. There was severe swelling over his left eye. Referee Terry O’Connor will come under the microscope for allowing the bout to go the distance.
With the win, Groves is in line for a fourth title shot. He came up short in three previous attempts. He lost twice inside the distance to Carl Froch and lost a split decision to reigning WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack. Those are his only defeats.
British boxing authorities put new safeguards in place in 1991 following Michael Watson’s near fatal encounter with Chris Eubank. Those safeguards were put on display on March 26 of this year when Nick Blackwell opposed Chris Eubank’s son of the same name in a match sanctioned for the British middleweight title. Blackwell was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital with a traumatic brain injury after being stopped in the 10th round. He spent a week in an induced coma.
Although Blackwell will never fight again, this was a story with a happy ending. The first responders, hospital workers, and the neurological surgeons meshed with great efficiency, providing a textbook example of how to properly handle a crisis of this nature. That bodes well for Eduard Gutknecht.
This latest incident comes less than seven weeks after a ring fatality in Scotland. On Sept. 30, 25-year-old professional boxer Mike Towell died from a brain injury suffered the previous night in a bout in Glasgow.
Informed of Gutknecht’s situation, George Groves cancelled the post-fight conference. He later sent a message of hope and sympathy to Gutknecht and his family on his Twitter account.
We will update this story as new details become available.
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