Michael Watson thanks fans for support 30 years after night that changed boxing

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Michael Watson today thanks fans across the country who have given him their love and support over the past 30 years.

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And he believes that a nearly fatal brain injury in his tragic fight with Chris Eubanks at White Hart Lane on September 21, 1991 changed boxing for the better.

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Michael Watson has thanked fans for their support 30 years after his near-fatal brain injury
Boxing legend works on the pads after fighting back from the brink

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Boxing legend works on the pads after fighting back from the brink

Despite being partially incapacitated from the fight, there is no bitterness on Watson’s part.

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He told SunSport: “My life has been full and the British public has been wonderful to me. I cannot regret it.

“As I said recently, we have to move on and I don’t hold any grudge against Chris.

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“He apologized to me but he didn’t have to. I’m glad that everyone took stock of what happened to me that night and realized that boxing had to be made safe.

“The new regulations were brought in and we now have all the medical equipment we need at ringside, as well as paramedics and ambulances on stand-by.

“Hopefully, it hasn’t caused more serious injuries to the other boxers.”

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A heart-wrenching night unrecognizable from British boxing left Watson’s life hanging in the balance.

In 1991, the rules and regulations surrounding the game were so loose that paramedics were not mandatory on the show.

And the lack of security on that fateful evening meant that doctors who were inside White Hart Lane in an informal capacity were unable to reach the stricken fighter in the midst of the mayhem.

Now, whether in a small hall in Scotland or a performance of 80,000 Wembley Stadium, every fighter is given world-leading care.

In a typical year, Secretary General Robert Smith helps the British Boxing Board of Control run about 300 fights – and he is never too proud of how our version of the game is run.

Smith told SunSport: “Any British show should have a fully trained paramedic with all the resuscitation equipment and the skills to treat a conscious or unconscious patient.

Chris Eubanks celebrates victory against Michael Watson in 1991

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Chris Eubanks celebrates victory against Michael Watson in 1991credit: Getty Images – Getty
Michael Watson suffered a near-fatal brain injury that left his life in limbo

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Michael Watson suffered a near-fatal brain injury that left his life in limboCredits: Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd.

“A show should always have at least two doctors and one anesthetist.

“Every venue has dedicated medical rooms for manageable issues that do not require hospital treatment, such as cuts.

“Otherwise anyone is directly taken to the hospital where we have informed the nearest surgical unit and A&E that a show is taking place.

“A huge amount has changed over the years.

“We have far better security now. Boxers used to have their own security team but we banned that.

“I was told in later years that doctors at White Hart Lane had difficulty reaching Michael because fans would not allow him. Everything has come on leaps and bounds since then.”

The board – made up of a cross-section of society that includes medical professionals – meets at least once a year to discuss medical progress.

Smith said: “Something went terribly wrong that night. My job is to make sure it never happens again and that they are well looked after.”

Eubanks has often spoken about the pain that haunts her in Watson’s fight – but the pair have forged a unique bond.

Boxing champion with football legend Teddy Sheringham

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Boxing champion with football legend Teddy Sheringham

Eubanks’s boxing ruthlessness was blunted as he wrestled with what he had given to a man in the heat of battle.

But the pair reunited in February, and Eubanks tried to explain the factors that raise men like her and Watson to mere mortals above us.

Eubanks told Piers Morgan: “As soon as you start fighting, the world looks at you because a man’s first instinct is to defend, that is, to fight.

“Whatever your situation, you can get up. And that’s what we do.”

Eubanks was pressed on that legacy that night, on that ITV stage.
As he struggled with his words and feelings – a voice from the studio floor spoke to defend him.

“Let’s move on to Chris, it’s okay, it’s okay brew,” shouted Michael Watson.

“Peace and love. I love you Chris. It’s all in the past. We are born warriors.”

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