Nick Blackwell’s fall to Chris Eubank during world title fight gave Michale Watson “devu vu” in a horrible way. Watson, 51, infamously suffered near-fatal brain injuries in the boxing sport in London almost 25 years ago.
Eubanks Jr claimed the British middleweight title after the doctor ordered the bout at Wembley Arena to be stopped in the 10th round with Blackwell’s left eye dangerously swollen, according to ESPN.
It emerged soon afterwards that Nick Blackwell, 25, had suffered a bleed on the brain and remains in an induced coma at St Mary’s hospital in London where he is expected to stay for some time.
Watson suffered injuries with a blood clot forming on his brain minutes after his world title fight with Chris Eubank Jr almost 25 years ago at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane stadium.
The super-middleweight’s career was ended that night, aged 26, in September 1991 and the Londoner spent 40 days in a coma and underwent six brain operations to remove the clot.
He then spent a year in intensive care and a further six years confined to a wheelchair. After a remarkable recovery, Watson is one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors.
“It gave me flashbacks to my fight in 1991 against Chris’s father,” said Watson. “I went down memory lane in many senses. It was strange watching Chris in the corner with his son, and I have seen most of young Chris’s fights. It was a very sad thing to see Nick hurt at the end and then to hear what has happened to him after the fight. It was a real sense of deja vu as the story unfolded. I obviously wish Nick and his family love and prayers as he is cared for in hospital.”
Blackwell was carried out on a stretcher and taken immediately to hospital, where he is set to remain for the near future, according to British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith.
Eubank Snr dramatically stepped in the ring, warning his son to stop any further head shots amid concern that the referee was not stopping the fight against Blackwell.
TV cameras captured Eubank Sr entering the ring at the end of the eighth to express concern to his son about what would happen to Blackwell if he continued to take punches to the head. “If he doesn’t stop it and we keep beating him like this, one, he is getting hurt, and two, if it goes to a decision - why didn’t the referee stop the fight? I don’t get why,” he asked. “So maybe you shouldn’t leave it to the referee. You’re not going to take him out to the face, you’re going to take him out to the body.”
Eubank Sr was also seen banging on the canvas floor of the ring in an attempt to get referee Victor Loughlin to call it off as Blackwell was taking more hits to the head. British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith defended the conduct of both Loughlin and Blackwell’s trainer Gary Lockett.
Eubank Jr dominated the fight at Wembley Arena and had earlier bloodied Blackwell’s nose in rounds three and four, before landing a number of heavy blows in round seven, but it all came with a heavy price for his opponent.
Blackwell’s condition appeared to be bad as of Monday morning.
“I spoke to one of the doctors this morning and he said there is a bleeding of the brain,” Smith said. “He’s in intensive care, he’s in an induced coma and he is resting and being looked after by the experts. It’s a very normal procedure. They put you in a coma to get the swelling to go down. There’s no time-scale. Now it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing.”
Smith added that Nick Blackwell was sedated and staying in the hospital for some time. “There’s no change from this morning,” he said.