Boxing has made attempts in recent years to install protocols to better protect fighters from serious harm, but on Sunday the world was given a reminder that the system can break down. During a fight between Chris Eubank Jr. and Nick Blackwell, there was someone ringside who noticed Blackwell was on the verge of being severely injured -- Chris Eubank Sr.
Following the 10th round, Eubank Sr. stepped through the ropes and decided to intervene, addressing his son in the corner. Ringside cameras caught the father telling his son to stop punching Blackwell in the head and instead end the fight with body shots.
There's clear video of the father's message to his son, but here's what he said in its entirety:
"If the referee doesn’t stop it, then I don’t know what to tell you, but I will tell you this: One, if he doesn’t stop it and we keep on beating him like this he is getting hurt. 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. So, you’re not going to take him out to the face -- you’re going to take him out to the body. Okay?"
It's unclear what role, if any, Eubank Sr's intervention had in preventing more serious injury, but many inside the boxing community are praising him for stepping into the ring and speaking with his son. Eubank Sr. is no stranger to events like this. In 1991 he was involved in a similar situation when he defeated Michael Watson. Watson was in a coma for 40 days following the fight and underwent six different surgeries to remove blood clots in his brain, which saved his life but left the boxer with permanent brain damage.
Following the fight, Blackwell was admitted to hospital and is currently in an induced coma. There has been no update to his condition at this time, but the fighter's family has asked the public and media not to speculate on the boxer's condition and to give them privacy.
For now, the boxing community in England waits to hear more about Blackwell's condition. Meanwhile, boxing's governing body in the UK is standing with the fight's referee, saying they are "satisfied" with how he handled the bout.
"Every boxer who gets in the ring knows the risks," the governing body told BBC5.