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Blackwell faces very long road to recovery after second injury

By Robert Jones

Former boxer Nick Blackwell is unable to walk after suffering a second serious head injury when he returned to sparring last November, and is around a year away from making a full recovery, according to his family.

Blackwell, 26, suffered swelling on the brain and was left in a coma for the second time when he took part in an unsanctioned sparring session with Hasan Karkardi in November, having retired from boxing following his defeat by Chris Eubank Jr in March 2016.

Blackwell was rushed to hospital after the Eubank fight at London's Wembley Arena, and although he did not require surgery, he was placed in a medically-induced coma that eventually led to his retirement in April.

But the boxing world was left shocked in November when it emerged that Blackwell was in hospital again after returning to the ring, and he required an operation to remove part of his skull to reduce the pressure on his brain that had been caused by swelling.

Trowbridge-born Blackwell will now require a second operation to replace the segment of his skull, and while his health is improving, his family stress that he faces a long road to recovery.

Blackwell's family confirmed that he was unable to attend the British Boxing Board of Control's hearing into the sparring incident yesterday where Karkardi and Liam Wilkins - the trainer who oversaw the session - were to see if they would face further sanctions, having both been suspended last year.

Blackwell cannot remember the sparring session, and his former trainer Gary Lockett said he was "stupid" for returning to the ring when his health was at risk.

"We thought that was all going very well and while we knew Nick missed boxing, we obviously didn't realise the extent to which he missed it," Lockett said.

"This is a long, long old road," Lockett added. "Nick has been a fool for what he has done, but we won't stop caring about him because of that and everyone is behind him with his recovery."

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