Tuesday 24 April 2018

'I would pull son from fight even though he'd never forgive me' - Chris Eubank Sr

Nick Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jnr exchange blows
Nick Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jnr exchange blows

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

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 Saturday's British middleweight title defeat by Chris Eubank Jr.

Referee Victor Loughlin stopped the fight in the 10th round because of the horrific swelling around Blackwell's left eye, but only shortly before Eubank Sr had told his son to aim his shots at his opponent's body rather than his head.

Eubank Sr, who left Michael Watson partially paralysed and with irreparable brain damage during their infamous 1991 fight, insists there would be no question of his own approach were the situation ever to be reversed.

Speaking in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Eubank Sr said: "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.

"But it will alienate us for life because this is not a game to him, he would never forgive me even though he would be able to see that I made the right decision and the only decision that a father could make with his son.

"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."

Eubank Sr revealed he instructed his son to stop targeting Blackwell's head in an attempt to protect the stricken fighter from further punishment.

"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.

"You see the body can repair, but that (head) doesn't.

"In sparing sometimes, I have to say to him 'no headshots' and I have to leave it to him to actually either carry out the command or not. In this particular case he carried it out, he backed off in the last round."

Eubank Sr added that the Watson fight and its aftermath are "part of me", but feels it has also given him a unique sense of perspective for the sport.

"This experience has given me a depth and that depth born of that experience is why I can advise as I do and why I had the compassion that I naturally do," he said.

"It (boxing) is to the spectator a game and for us it is a way of life, but there is nothing enlightening about damaging a man, there really isn't.

"It is about scoring points, the one who has the most points at the end of the contest is so able to raise their calibre, their standard of living, writing their names in the history books.

"We are not in this to actually hospitalise and damage people. It is a great game, it is noble, it is real."

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 the sport.

"No fighter wants to see the man after the fight in any type of serious condition," said the 26-year-old.

"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."

Press Association Sport understands that, given the circumstances, Blackwell's condition appears positive.

He will again be assessed from the hospital in Paddington, west London, on Tuesday.

Press Association

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