LONDON (Reuters) - Boxing should not be banned following the brain injury suffered by Nick Blackwell because the sport would become “more dangerous” if forced underground, says former world champion Chris Eubank Snr.
His son Chris Eubank Jnr. defeated Blackwell in a British middleweight title fight on Saturday which left his opponent in an induced coma with bleeding on his brain.
“Boxing should not be banned for one reason — if it were ever abolished it would go underground and then there would be far, far more incidents of damage to fighters,” Eubank Snr. told a news conference on Tuesday.
“If you ban it, boxing becomes more dangerous and I don’t think any person with a reasonable mind can argue with that.”
Blackwell, 25, collapsed in the ring after the fight was called off in round 10 because of swelling over his left eye.
He remains heavily sedated in a London hospital but his condition is “not deteriorating”, his family said in a statement.
Surgeon Peter Hamlyn, who operated on Michael Watson after he suffered brain damage in a 1991 fight with Eubank Snr., said medical procedures were followed properly, but insists the fight should have been stopped earlier.
“It was clearly a one-sided fight by the seventh or eighth round and it should have been stopped. He took too many uppercuts and he suffered a blitz,” Hamlyn told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.
“It seemed insane for it to go on, because only one man was going to win the fight.”
However, Eubank Jnr.’s trainer Ronnie Davies believes the referee was right not to stop the fight.
“The kid was always there,” he said. “His corner couldn’t pull him out. It was a title fight. I wish he’d gone down but he didn’t.”
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) was satisfied with how the bout was handled.
“Every boxer who gets into a ring know the risks,” BBBC general secretary Robert Smith told BBC Radio.
“We have everything in place as best we can. But we’re never going to make it 100 percent safe.”
Eubank Jnr. said news of Blackwell’s injury was “tough to hear”.
“No fighter goes in there to cause that type of damage to an opponent. There’s nothing personal,” he said.
Watson, 51, spent 40 days in a coma and had six operations to remove a blood clot, leaving him with brain damage and partially paralyzed.
Reporting by Rob Hodgetts, editing by Ed Osmond