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Chris Eubank Snr tried to protect son's ailing opponent Nick Blackwell

By Declan Warrington

Chris Eubank Jr has revealed he reduced the number of his punches in the latter rounds of Saturday night's title fight against Nick Blackwell after his father, Chris Eubank Sr, warned him that his opponent could end up seriously hurt.

Blackwell, 25, has been in an induced coma and was found to have suffered a small bleed on the brain since collapsing at the end of the British middleweight title defeat.

Referee Victor Loughlin stopped the fight in the 10th round because of the horrific swelling around Blackwell's left eye, but before that former world champion Eubank Sr - who left Michael Watson partially paralysed and with irreparable brain damage during their infamous 1991 fight - told his son to pursue his opponent's body.

At a press conference in London yesterday, Eubank Jr said: "I had spared my uppercuts. I thought this guy is hurt. I took it down a notch. I was playing.

"I'd won the fight, so I thought let's put on a little bit of a show because people are still watching. I wasn't throwing as many punches."

The 26-year-old said he eased off because he knew he had "severely hurt" Blackwell.

"No fighter wants to see the man after the fight in any type of serious condition," Eubank Jr said.

"I'm not going in there to damage someone, I just went in to fulfil a lifelong ambition and become British champion.

"If you watch the round, you can see me easing off.

"As fighters, we know the risks. We know that we are risking our health every time we step in the ring."

Eubank Jr, who in winning the British title achieved something that eluded his famous father, has repeatedly spoken of his concern for Blackwell's condition but insisted events since Saturday had not tempted him to quit.

It is understood that, given the circumstances, Blackwell's condition appears positive.

Since the fight, referee Loughlin and Blackwell's trainer Gary Lockett have been criticised on social media, and defended by the British Boxing Board of Control, for allowing the fight to continue.

Eubank Sr, the former middleweight and super-middleweight world champion, added that he did tell his son to stop targeting Blackwell's head in an attempt to protect the stricken fighter from further punishment.

"Even in sparring, I tell Junior to stay away from the head because his punching is fast, powerful and dangerous," said Eubank.

"So most certainly I was saying this to protect the fighter.

"I said 'look, Junior', it was a command, it was 'leave the face alone, go to the body'. You are likely to stop him there as well."

Eubank Sr said he would have no hesitation in pulling his son out of a fight if the boxer was taking the same kind of punishment as Blackwell, even if it would cause irreparable damage to the pair's relationship.

"The decision I would make... the decision I have already made if this should come to pass and (it's one) that will alienate me from my son for life because I would pull him out," he said.

"It is either that or his health, so actually it is not a difficult question, but I know what the outcome (would be)... it would alienate us for life.

"We are not in this to actually hospitalise and damage people."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph