Boxing star who almost died after title fight to run Weston's half marathon

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 March 2019

Nick Blackwell celebrates his victory over John Ryder in their British middleweight title fight at the O2 Arena, London in 2015 (pic Jonathan Brady/PA)

Nick Blackwell celebrates his victory over John Ryder in their British middleweight title fight at the O2 Arena, London in 2015 (pic Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

A former boxing champ who almost died after a title fight with Chris Eubank Jr will take on Weston's half marathon this weekend.

Former boxer Nick Blackwell during a weigh-in at The Great Northern, Manchester in 2018 (pic Nick Potts/PA)Former boxer Nick Blackwell during a weigh-in at The Great Northern, Manchester in 2018 (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Nick Blackwell had to learn to walk again after his gruelling British middleweight title clash two years ago, but on Sunday he will take on the Weston super Half.

It is just one of many inspiring stories from the 1,500-strong field of runners taking part in the town’s inaugural half marathon.

The 28-year-old was given just a 25 per cent chance of survival, and was told by doctors he would likely be paralysed from his injuries – but the Trowbridge fighter will defy medics’ predictions when he sets off on the 13.1mile race.

He spent a week in an induced coma following his defeat to now IBO super-middleweight champ Eubank, and months later he sustained a second head injury in a prohibited sparring session which caused life-changing injuries which forced him to learn to walk and talk again.

He spent a further year in Southmead Hospital, but Blackwell has shown the steel of a champion to complete an inspirational recovery and he will run in aid of the head injury unit which treated him this weekend.

Blackwell said: “I used to run all the time and would get up at 5.30am on a weekday and go for a five or six-mile run with my dog, Roscoe.

“Running is my way of relaxing and is like escapism for me. and I am so pleased to be well enough to run the half marathon.

“I was told there was a 75 per cent chance I would die and an 85 per cent chance I would be partly paralysed.

“I didn’t think I would be able to run again.

“If it wasn’t for how fit I was before I don’t think I would be here today.”

Blackwell won 19 of his 25 contests as a professional, defending his British belt twice after knocking out John Ryder to win the strap in 2015 – but the high-profile bout against Eubank, the son of boxing legend Chris Eubank Sr, changed the Wiltshire man’s life forever.

He said: “I can’t believe it has been three years since my boxing injury.

“Although it has been a tough road to recovery I can’t believe how far I have come. I have got a lot physically stronger in the last few months.”

Blackwell is raising money for Southmead Hospital Cancer Research UK.

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