British middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr has revealed he eased off Nick Blackwell in the final rounds of their fight on Saturday, which saw the latter suffer bleeding on the brain and placed into a coma.
Eubank Jr confirmed on Tuesday that he threw fewer uppercuts and aimed less at his opponent’s head as he saw that Blackwell, who remains in intensive care, was struggling.
Eubank was also following ringside advice from his father Chris Eubank Sr, who was himself scarred by leaving Michael Watson with brain damage and partially paralysed in a 1991 fight.
“If you watch the last round, you can see me easing off,” said the 26-year-old, who added he realised Blackwell was “severely hurt”.
“I had spared my uppercuts. I thought this guy is hurt. I took it down a notch. I was playing. I’d won the fight, so I thought let’s put on a little bit of a show because people are still watching. I wasn’t throwing as many punches.”
Eubank Sr said they would not celebrate beating Blackwell until he had recovered and, despite previously expressing concerns that the fight was not stopped before the 10th round, refused to blame the referee or British boxing chiefs who later endorsed his decision.
“I can’t speak for the British [Boxing] Board of Control, I can’t speak for the referee – he has his own discretion – but I have been in there,” said the former world middleweight and super-middleweight champion. “I know what it feels like. I have been saying how dangerous Junior is for the past two years.”