Nick Blackwell Unwell

By Robert Ecksel on March 29, 2016
Nick Blackwell Unwell
When they finally waved off the fight at 2:11 of the 10th, it was already too late. (Rex)

Nick Blackwell is a gladiator, a tightrope walker, the kamikaze’s kamikaze. He’s the grandmaster flash of no quit…

On Saturday, March 26, at Wembley Arena in Wembley, London, United Kingdom, another boxing tragedy occurred. Like most boxing tragedies it occurred in the ring. Like most boxing tragedies, it involved the brain.

BBBofC middleweight champion Nick “Bang Bang” Blackwell (19-4-1, 8 KOs), from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, UK, fighting out of the red corner in brown trunks with gold trim, fought Chris Eubank Jr. (22-1, 17 KOs), fighting out of the blue corner in black and silver trunks, the son of a legend who resides in Brighton, Sussex.

Eubank has had a fine career. Except for a split decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014, he has won all his fights. In February of 2015 Eubank fought Dmitry Chudinov to win the interim WBA World middleweight title. It was a sweet victory that ended in the final round.

In his last fight, a non-title affair at the O2 Arena, Eubank stopped Gary (Spike) O’Sullivan, the man of steel from Cork, Ireland.

Nick Blackwell, like Eubank, also lost to Billy Joe Saunders. Unlike Eubank, he lost to Martin Murray and Max Bursak. But Blackwell had won seven straight since Bursak, and against tough competition, so he was primed for the fight.

But there was one small problem. Eubank is the better fighter. Blackwell is a gladiator, a tightrope walker, the kamikaze’s kamikaze. He’s the grandmaster flash of no quit. But boxing is a skill and not a strength sport and the pedigreed kid with the starry future took Nick Blackwell to school.

The first few rounds were give and take. By the middle rounds, Eubank did most of the giving and Blackwell did most of the taking. He took it like a man, one expects nothing less, but he began busting up early. He couldn’t cope with Eubank’s speed and boxing IQ.

He couldn’t cope with Eubank

When they finally waved off the fight at 2:11 of the 10th round, Blackwell was a mess. His face smeared with blood, his left eye completely closed, the fight needed to be stopped, but it was already too late.

Nick Blackwell collapsed in the ring. He was carried out on a stretcher. He had an oxygen mask strapped to his face.

Blackwell was taken to a hospital and placed in an induced coma.

“It is our understanding that Nick has a bleed on the brain and is under observation by hospital staff,” said Robert W. Smith, General Secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control. “We will just have to wait and see what the hospital says.”

The waiting is the hard part. Blackwell’s family told the BBC he remains “heavily sedated” but is “not deteriorating.”

There has been an outcry, but the British Board of Boxing Control has cleared the referee, the ringside physician, and Blackwell’s trainer Gary Lockett of any wrongdoing.

Smith told the BBC, “I’ve spoken to the referee, Victor Loughlin, I’ve spoken to Gary Lockett. We had discussions with regard to how the fight went and I’m satisfied with their decisions on the evening.”

Critics, of whom Chris Eubank Sr., is the most vocal, are not satisfied. They say the fight should have been stopped sooner.

At the end of round eight, Eubank lamented to his son, “If he doesn’t stop it and we keep beating him like this, one, he is getting hurt, and two, if it goes to a decision—why didn’t the referee stop the fight? I don’t get why. So maybe you shouldn’t leave it to the referee.”

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Chris Eubank Jr vs Nick Blackwell Full Fight 2016 03 26

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  1. Darrell 01:10am, 03/31/2016

    Should’ve been stopped in round 8 when Eubank was battering the shit out of Blackwell.  I was screaming at the telly, to the fucking referee & Blackwells corner, obviously without response.

  2. Terry Simpson 03:31pm, 03/30/2016

    Sincere good luck on your recovery Nick A marvellous fight Eubank Jnr just did the job he was meant to do. I also applaud Eubank Snr of seeing through what was happening and calling to stop the fight

  3. nicolas 05:18am, 03/30/2016

    While I have never seen it discussed anywhere in boxing journalism, I have for years, probably since late 99, advocated for fights ending in earlier decisions.What this would mean is that if a fighter is so far behind on points by all the judges, that not one of them could give the fighter who is behind, the rest of the remaining rounds, and even have it on that judges score cards a draw, stop the fight. call it an early decision for the winning fighter. Would this have possibly saved Mr. Blackwell from the position he is in right now, no guarantees, but certainly he would have a better chance than he does now. Hopefully he will be okey. This rule I suggest would not have helped the Russian boxer who fought Mike Perez, as I believe one judge had Perez only ahead by a point going into that last round, but many boers would not have to receive further punishment, and possibly further abuse to there body that would effect them in later years. I am tired also of the argument that some might make, well look at those boxers who were so far behind, but then came back with that knockout, how often does that happen? Or the fact that maybe Eubanks Jr. might tire out so bad that Blackwell would have knocked him out. It is sad situations on a young mans life like Blackwell, that give the fuel to those who would like to ban the sport of boxing. Why should be help give them that fuel?

  4. Eric 03:59pm, 03/29/2016

    Classless posturing and unnecessary clowning by Eubank Jr. in the last round, a fighter as gutsy as Blackwell deserves better. Hindsight is always 20/20 and everyone is always an expert after the fact. Hopefully, Mr. Blackwell can make a speedy recovery. Off topic, but is the Union Jack the coolest flag in the world or what? Great design.

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