Nick Blackwell: Ex-boxer still unable to walk after sparring injury

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Ex-British middleweight champion Nick Blackwell is unable to walk and a year away from making a full recovery after being injured in a sparring session.

Blackwell, 26, retired from boxing after suffering severe head injuries in a fight with Chris Eubank Jr in March.

But he took part in a sparring session in November which left him in a coma with swelling on the brain.

A British Boxing Board of Control hearing into the unsanctioned sparring session will be held on Wednesday.

The boxer who sparred with Blackwell, Hasan Karkardi, and the trainer who oversaw the session, Liam Wilkins, were suspended last year for their roles in the incident and will meet with the BBC at its headquarters in Cardiff to discover whether there will be further sanctions.

The board had said it wanted Blackwell to attend the hearing, but the Wiltshire-based former fighter is not well enough to do so, a family member has told BBC Sport.

They said although Blackwell’s health is improving, it is likely to be a long road to recovery.

Blackwell has been told it will be about a year before he recovers fully, and he will need another operation to replace part of his skull that was removed. He cannot remember the sparring incident at all, the family member added.

Blackwell’s former trainer Gary Lockett has said the fighter was “stupid” to get back in the ring against medical advice and the family member said he will not blame the people involved when he recovers, because he made the decision to step into the ring in the first place.

Before Wednesday’s hearing, Lockett told BBC Wales Sport he felt Blackwell made the decision to return to the ring because he could not let go.

“We thought that was all going very well and while we knew Nick missed boxing, we obviously didn’t realise the extent to which he missed it,” Lockett told BBC Wales Sport.

However, the Wales-based trainer is hopeful Blackwell is slowly recovering.

“This is a long, long old road,” Lockett said.

“It isn’t like last time where no-one can believe how well he seems or how lucky he has been.

“I think we are winning at the moment but it is a long way to go.

“Nick has been a fool for what he has done, but we won’t stop caring about him because of that and everyone is behind him with his recovery.”

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