The referee adjudicating Saturday’s fight between Chris Eubank Jr. and Nick Blackwell has been defended by the general secretary of British Board of Boxing Control (BBoC).
Blackwell was placed in a medically induced coma following the bout, but Victor Loughlin failed to stop proceedings until the tenth round, despite Blackwell taking severe punishment at the hands of Eubank Jr.
The 25-year-old was stretchered out of Wembley Arena and remains in a coma while he is observed at St Mary’s Hospital, reports the Daily Mail.
He's a true fighter & I whole heartedly believe he will pull through. Appreciate everyone that came out to support the fight #TeamEubank
— Chris Eubank Jr (@ChrisEubankJr) March 27, 2016
Robert Smith of the BBoC told BBC Radio 5 Live:
Every boxer who gets into a boxing ring knows the risks,’ Smith told BBC Radio 5 Live.
We have everything in place as best we can, but we’re never going to take away [all the risk]… we’re never going to make it 100 per cent safe.
We have anaesthetists there, we have paramedics, we have doctors. We notify the nearest neurosurgical units. We do everything we possibly can. We’re very strict in this country.
Nick Blackwell wanted to be a boxer, like everybody else who wants to take part in boxing. We all know the risks.
I think [it] was a very hard contest and I think the referee did a good job. Nick Blackwell kept fighting back. He is a very proud man.
People can have their opinions and hindsight is 20/20 vision. But I don’t think anybody did anything wrong.
Chris Eubank Sr. has since been credited for advising his son not to inflict further damage to Blackwell’s head, questioning why the referee hadn’t stopped the fight, and telling Eubank Jr. to instead work the body.
Chris Eubank Sr may well have saved Nick Blackwell's life last night. Class act… pic.twitter.com/EHrus0MOHU
— BreatheSport (@BreatheSport) March 27, 2016
Eubank Sr. was able to draw on his own experience while cornering his son.
Back in 1991 he fought Michael Watson, with his opponent being left in a 40-day coma following the bout.
Watson survived, but following six operations to remove a blood clot from his brain he was left severely disabled. He commented that the incident with Blackwell left him with a sense of ‘deja vu’.
Thank you all for the messages of support for Nick Blackwell. We will be issuing updates when the time is right. pic.twitter.com/nGswgubNBp
— Hennessy Sports (@HennessySports) March 27, 2016
Our thoughts are with Blackwell in the hope he makes a speedy recovery.