Nick Blackwell is still in an induced coma following his loss to Chris Eubank Jnr on Saturday night, but footage has emerged of Eubank's father, Chris Eubank Snr, advising his son to avoid Blackwell's head as he could tell he was in grave danger.
Blackwell is in intensive care but "stable" after being placed into an induced coma suffering bleeding to the brain following the British middleweight title fight, but questions are being asked if the fight should have been stopped, and whether Eubank Snr's intervention saved Blackwell's life.
Did Eubank Snr save Blackwell's life?
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Did Eubank Snr save Blackwell's life?
Chris Eubank Snr, advises his son Chris Eubank Jnr, to avoid hitting Nick Blackwell's head and face which may have saved the boxer further damage in the following rounds of the British middleweight title fight.
Eubank Snr has had his own experiences with serious head trauma from boxing, with his 1991 opponent Michael Watson suffering life-changing injuries. Watson underwent six brain operations to save his life after their world title bout at White Hart Lane and this may have been the reason behind Eubank Snr's clear instructions to Eubank Jnr when Blackwell was in dire straights.
The Blackwell-Eubank Jnr bout was stopped in the 10th round after the ringside doctor advised the referee, Victor Loughlin, that Blackwell was unable to see through his left eye due to swelling, yet it was clear from round eight onwards that Chris Eubank Snr was imploring his son from the corner to hit Blackwell to the body and not the head or face.
Eubank Snr tells his son, "You're not going to take him out to the face you're going to take him out to the body."
"I don't know what to tell you, if the referee doesn't stop this and you keep beating him like this then one he is getting hurt ... I don't know why the referee hasn't stopped it."
Eubank Snr declined to comment when The London Daily Telegraph spoke to the former world champion.
Eubank Snr, 49, has spoken many times in a moving way about his love and affection for Watson, and his words to his son may have averted further damage to 25-year-old Blackwell.
Peter Hamlyn, the eminent consultant neurosurgeon who operated on Watson and saved his life, watched a rerun of Saturday's contest and told The Telegraph that he believed "clearly that the bout should have been stopped earlier".
"There were two things we learnt from the case of Michael Watson 25 years ago. One was followed, one was not," Hamlyn explained. "The procedure in medical care was followed carefully and precisely and Mr Blackwell did not suffer hypoxia [oxygen starvation to the brain] and was medically induced into a coma."
"But the fight was not stopped when it should have been. It was clearly a one-sided fight by the seventh or eighth round, and it should have been stopped. He took too many uppercuts and he suffered a blitz.
"It seemed insane for it to go on, because only one man was going to win the fight."
Damaged: Nick Blackwell's injuries during his fight against Chris Eubank Jnr. Photo: YouTube
Loughlin eventually halted the action on Saturday night on the advice of the ringside doctor when Blackwell was unable to see out of his left eye due to a grotesque haematoma above his eyebrow. Eubank Jnr had landed power shots and uppercuts throughout the contest but Blackwell, known as "Bang Bang" and who carries a reputation for being in ring wars, bravely fought on.
Concern grew for the 25-year-old from Trowbridge when he was taken from the ring on a stretcher shortly after oxygen was administered to him after he had collapsed in the ring, initially believed to be because of exhaustion. Blackwell was then transported to St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, where he underwent a brain scan within an hour and was placed into a medically induced coma.
He had suffered "a small bleed" to his brain and was scanned again two hours later. A source from within Blackwell's team reported that the boxer was "stable" and that "no brain swelling" had occurred overnight, an encouraging sign for his long-term health, according to Hamlyn.
Robert Smith, general secretary of the British Boxing Board, told The Telegraph that he was "satisfied" after speaking to Board officials who were there that referee Loughlin "had acted appropriately" in what had been "a very tough title fight".
Smith said. "He's in intensive care, he's in an induced coma and he is resting and being looked after by the experts," "That is the normal procedure in these cases. They put you in a coma to get the swelling to go down. There's no timescale. Now it's just a matter of waiting and seeing."
Hamlyn added: "Hopefully because Mr Blackwell did not have hypoxia in addition to the brain injury, the swelling won't be too bad, and over the forthcoming days the pressure in his brain will normalise, they will be able to lighten the anaesthetic and, hopefully, he will emerge with very little damage. But it is very unlikely that he will box again."
will u all pray for @nickblackwell02 please ASAP as he has been taken to hospital, God be with him,— Gypsy King (@Tyson_Fury) March 26, 2016
Blackwell had won the British middleweight title against John Ryder in May 2015, defending it twice before his weekend loss to Eubank Jnr. His career record stands at 19 wins, four losses and one draw from 24 professional fights.
Messages of support and prayers from across the boxing community flooded onto social media, including from world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, his trainer and uncle Peter Fury, and from Eubank and his father.
Elsewhere, Kell Brook retained his International Boxing Federation welterweight crown in his home town of Sheffield with a second-round stoppage of French-Canadian mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier.
Promoter Eddie Hearn pledged immediately to fix the Yorkshireman up with "a big unification fight" in July.
The Telegraph London