Tonight at Wembley, bitter middleweight rivals Chris Eubank Junior and Nick Blackwell went to war in a domestic fight of the year candidate. Blackwell lost his British middleweight title by way of a 10th-round TKO when referee Victor Loughlin, on advice of the doctor, stopped the fight due to a quite horrific swelling to Blackwell’s left eye. The time was 2:21 of the 10th and Eubank, in claiming the title he said he had dreamt of winning since he was aged 15, improved to 22-1(17). Blackwell, one of the toughest fighting men in British boxing, falls to 19-4-1(8). Blackwell was carried from the ring by a stretcher and he was given oxygen. We all hope he is okay.
The fight was fought at a red-hot pace from the outset, and Eubank, the bigger puncher, really tested Blackwell’s chin; his right uppercut being a permanent weapon that seemingly could not miss all night. Eubank also went to the body in an attempt at breaking Blackwell down, while the defending British champ used a nice left jab to good effect. By the 3rd, Blackwell’s nose was pouring blood and the war was well and truly on.
Eubank though, was landing the more eye-catching work; his vicious uppercuts really scoring well. The 4th saw a blistering attack from Eubank, as he let loose with both hands. Blackwell’s chin was simply astonishing tonight but Eubank would not take no for an answer. But would Eubank punch himself out? On occasion it looked like it might happen. Fighting in bursts, effective ones at that, Eubank tattooed his man with absolutely everything. In the 5th, Eubank again went for the finish, and even found time to speak to someone at ringside in the middle of his relentless assault.
Getting tagged by a right hand counter as he got a little cocky, Eubank briefly had the swagger knocked out of him. By now the crowd had been on its feet many times. Blackwell was looking to use his right hand in the 6th and there were yet more uppercuts by the challenger. Still another all-out attack came from Eubank in the 7th and Blackwell was stuck on the ropes, his face covered with blood. But the champion came back himself, showing incredible heart.
The 8th saw yet more punishment dished out by Eubank, with Blackwell showing astonishing defiance. Eubank was looking a little tired now but he was way ahead on points. The 9th was the first slow(ish) round of the fight, with Eubank content to box and pick his man off. By now Blackwell’s left eye was swelling badly, a ridge of swollen tissue protruding above the eye. By the next session, the 10th, the eye was almost tight shut. Blackwell, who really earned his pay, was still coming forward but Eubank was doing the more effective work.
Busted up, tired and hurt but still game, Blackwell was then inspected by the ringside doctor and the fight was all over. Perhaps, in light of the beating Blackwell took, it should have been stopped earlier. At time of writing there is no word on the ex-champion’s condition. Hopefully no news will prove to be good news.
Eubank, who showed tonight he really can fight hard, hit Blackwell with absolutely everything but he also took some shots and he showed good stamina after throwing so much leather. A domestic classic was the result but now we all hope Blackwell is okay. He showed heart, guts and courage way beyond the call.