Blackwell’s Tragic Injury Should Change, Not Banish Boxing.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.48.53 by JACK PRENTICE

Nick Blackwell suffered bleeding to the brain during his fight against Chris Eubank Jr last Saturday as they fought for the British middleweight belt.

As you can expect, there have been a range of reactions as people digest an incident similar to that of Michael Watson in 1991, which ironically involved Eubank senior.

The former world champion could be heard telling his son to only hit body shots. He seemed to know that Blackwell was in trouble.

Boxing learnt lessons from Eubank Sr’s fight against Michael Watson in 1991. (Image Credit:

Amongst the aforementioned reactions, there have been calls for boxing to be completely banned.

This is over the top.

For all the dangers involved, and let’s face it, there are a few when your primary job is to avoid being punched in the face a gazillion times, boxing at all levels has done a lot for communities.

It has gone far to steer kids away from a life of crime and those calling for a ban cannot lose sight of this.

These fighters also know that there is an immense amount of risks when going into the ring. As horrendous as Blackwell’s situation is at the moment, he and every other fighter were not naïve enough not to know that this sadly came with the territory of their sport.

But that will never and should never be enough to stop such activities.

It’s the same with many other sports, examples of which are listed below.

Speedway is a sport that regularly sees riders breaking collarbones, legs, arms and even faces. Arguably its brightest rising star, Darcy Ward, had his career cut short as a crash in Poland left the Australian paralysed in the autumn.

Speedway lost its most promising star in Torun that night. In 2012 Lee Richardson, one of Great Britain’s most popular and senior riders, died when his bike hit an airfence, catapulting him over the front. However, you haven’t heard any calls for Speedway to banned.

Or MotoGP, which has claimed the lives of Daijiro Kato, Shoya Tomizawa, Marco Simoncelli and more since 2003.

Even the uber-safe environment of Formula One has seen deaths and horrific injuries recently, with Jules Bianchi becoming the first F1 driver to die because of an accident in 20 years, with Maria De Villota suffering injuries in 2012 that would ultimately cost her her life a year later.

But all of the above mentioned sports have learnt from these tragedies and became safer rather than be killed off because of them.

And that is what professional boxing needs to do.

Boxing learnt lessons from Eubank Sr’s fight against Michael Watson in 1991. (Image Credit:

Amateur boxing still has head protection and this could be an avenue the professional game looks at. Certainly, Blackwell would not have suffered a bleed on the brain with the same punishment he took from Eubank Junior if he wore the protection.

There have also been calls, rightly, for a trained medic to be able to help the referees determine whether a fighter isn’t fit to continue. While not a trained medic, Eubank Snr was calling for the fight to be stopped three rounds before it was and in hindsight he was right.

Eubank is no stranger to these situations and boxing learnt from his fight with Watson in 1991.

It must do so again from this latest dark episode.


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