• Nick Blackwell was placed in an induced coma after Chris Eubank Jnr bout 
  • He has been brought out of his coma and is talking with family
  • A picture of the 25-year-old awake in hospital bed was posted on Monday
  • Michael Watson spent 40 days in a coma after fighting Chris Eubank Snr
  • He had six operations to remove blood clots from his brain after 1991 bout
  • Watson believes Blackwell’s injury should have been prevented by referee

Press Association Reporter

Michael Watson believes Nick Blackwell’s injury was avoidable and feels referees should pay close attention to a fighter’s eyes during a bout.

Blackwell collapsed shortly after his British middleweight title defeat by Chris Eubank Jnr at Wembley Arena last week but woke on Saturday and was speaking to friends and family on Sunday.

The fight was stopped in the 10th round after the ringside doctor advised referee Victor Loughlin that Blackwell was unable to see through his left eye. The 25-year-old was found to have suffered a bleed on the skull and spent the following week in an induced coma.

Nick Blackwell (centre) has been brought out of his induced coma and is talking with family and friends

Nick Blackwell (centre) has been brought out of his induced coma and is talking with family and friends

Blackwell was taken to hospital after his British middleweight title fight with Chris Eubank Jnr last month

Blackwell was taken to hospital after his British middleweight title fight with Chris Eubank Jnr last month

Chris Eubank Snr criticised the referee’s handling of his son’s fight and Watson – who spent 40 days in an induced coma and had six operations to remove a blood clot from his brain after a 1991 bout against Eubank Snr – was also critical.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I looked into his eyes and saw he was dazed. I was shouting for the referee to intervene.

‘Referees should…look at a fighter and work out whether they’re hurt or not by looking through their eyes. The referee didn’t look into his eyes and intervene.’

The British Boxing Board of Control have defended Loughlin’s handling of the fight but Watson maintained: ‘If the fight had been stopped earlier I do truly believe all this could have been prevented.’

The former Commonwealth middleweight title holder added: ‘The unity of people around him will now be mentally beneficial to him.

‘He will need his close friends and family to be around at this stage to support him and be his backbone – he needs the help of others around him to help him move on in life.’

The incident came 25 years after Michael Watson collapsed after losing against Chris Eubank Snr

The incident came 25 years after Michael Watson collapsed after losing against Chris Eubank Snr

Watson's collapse and the delay in him receiving treatment saw an overhaul of safety at boxing events

Watson’s collapse and the delay in him receiving treatment saw an overhaul of safety at boxing events

HENNESSEY SPORTS FULL STATEMENT 

On Saturday, April 2, 2016, Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell woke from an induced coma. Twenty-four hours later, on Sunday, he was talking to family and close friends at his bedside.

Nick had been placed in an induced coma following a British middleweight title contest at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday, March 26. Contrary to early reports, though, his bleed was outside the brain – on the skull, in fact – and was minor enough for there to be no need to operate.

He was in an induced coma for almost seven days, given the very best possible treatment by the incredible team at St. Mary’s Hospital, and the sedatives used were gradually reduced over this period of time.

Finally, at the weekend, Nick woke from this induced coma, acknowledged the voices of loved ones and, by Sunday, was starting to talk. It was the outcome everyone had been hoping and praying for; Nick had won his toughest fight yet.

On behalf of Nick, his family, and very close friends, we’d like to thank everyone for their continued support and well-wishes. It has been overwhelming at times and has certainly not gone unnoticed.

Nick Blackwell won the hearts of over three million (television) viewers on March 26 with an astonishing display of all-action bravery and determination. In the past week, however, he has humbled millions more. He’s a fighter. He’s a warrior. He’s a true champion and gentleman. 

Blackwell may not return to the ring – but Watson has encouraged the 25-year-old to use him as an example of what can be achieved once a boxing career ends.

The 51-year-old added: ‘Look at me as an example, life is a precious thing. He’s got his senses, he knows exactly what he’s doing.

‘I’ve achieved a lot more in my life than when I was in the boxing system. I’ve met the Queen and so many icons.

The doctor attends to Michael Watson after his collapse at the end of the WBO super-middleweight fight in 1991

The doctor attends to Michael Watson after his collapse at the end of the WBO super-middleweight fight in 1991

Blackwell was taken from the ring on a stretcher and transported to hospital after collapsing 10 days ago

Blackwell was taken from the ring on a stretcher and transported to hospital after collapsing 10 days ago

‘Since the accident I’ve walked marathons and raised half a million for teenagers with cancer.’

The boxing community has responded positively to the news Blackwell had regained consciousness, with plenty taking to social media.

Eubank Jnr himself posted a video on Instagram, saying: ‘Little message to you Nick, I’d love to come down to the hospital and see you if that’s possible, if that’s cool with you and your family, I’ve got something for you, so let me know man.’ 

The fight was stopped in the 10th round with the doctor at ringside saying Blackwell shouldn't continue

The fight was stopped in the 10th round with the doctor at ringside saying Blackwell shouldn’t continue

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