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A friend of Nick Blackwell has said the stricken boxer is recovering well and will be back on his feet ‘in no time’.
Blackwell is in an induced coma in hospital after he suffered near-fatal brain injuries in a world title fight against Chris Eubank Jnr. He collapsed after losing the fight at Wembley on Saturday night.
After fears over his condition grew today, a tweet from friend and fellow boxer Billy Joe Saunders has raised hopes he will pull through.
Saunders tweeted: ‘Spoke to Nick’s Dad looking good. He will be back to us in no time. Keep him in half thoughts and prayers. God bless him and you all.’
It was reported last night that Blackwell would not need to undergo surgery at St Mary’s hospital after no further swelling on his brain.
Before the boxing match, Blackwell’s mother Cindy, 51, had told friends she was too scared to watch the fight and just wanted it to be over.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘I have to confess we are going out as I cannot watch this one live. I will be glad when it’s over and to know he’s all right.’
Nick Blackwell, 25, who suffered bleeding to the brain, was carried out of Wembley Arena on a stretcher and taken to hospital, where he remains under observation.
Chris Eubank Sr had been at the ringside on Saturday and may have saved Blackwell’s life by urging his son to punch his opponent’s body, rather than his face, over the last two rounds after telling him the referee should have ended the contest. He also banged on the canvas floor of the ring in an attempt to get referee Victor Loughlin to call off the fight.
The contest was finally stopped in the tenth round after the ringside doctor advised the referee that defending champion Blackwell was unable to see through his left eye, and Eubank Jr, 26, took the British middleweight title.
Amid widespread concern about the potential dangers of boxing, there was also praise for Eubank Sr, 49. One Twitter user said: ‘Chris Eubank Sr may well have saved Nick Blackwell’s life last night. Class act.’
The retired boxer’s later career was blighted by the memory of the night in Tottenham, North London, in 1991 when he left Michael Watson in a 40-day coma. Brain-damaged Watson survived but has been severely disabled ever since.
On Saturday night Eubank Jr was well ahead at the end of the eighth round when his father climbed into the ring to offer advice.
TV cameras caught him telling his son: ‘If the referee doesn’t stop it, then I don’t know what to tell you, but I will tell you this: one, if he doesn’t stop it and we keep on beating him like this, he is getting hurt; two, if it goes to a decision, why didn’t the referee stop the fight? I don’t get why.
‘So maybe you shouldn’t leave it to the referee. So you’re not going to take him out to the face – you’re going to take him out to the body.’
Eubank’s punches became less frequent in the last two rounds, and many boxing fans on Twitter suggested Eubank Sr’s advice to his son saved Blackwell’s life.
Soon after the fight was stopped, Blackwell, from Wiltshire, who had a nose bleed, suddenly fell to the ring floor. He received medical attention immediately.
Fans on Twitter said the referee or Blackwell’s coaches should have stopped the fight earlier.