The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

UK News by Alan Taylor

Hardy Retires

Former British, European and Commonwealth bantamweight champion Billy Hardy announced his retirement from the ring (Wednesday 29th September).  Hardy, who also held the featherweight title at European level was a respected, if limited, fighter who twice challenged Orlando Canizales for the latter's IBF title taking him to a split decision in Billy's home town of Sunderland but losing the rematch by KO in a very hot San Antonio, Texas.  More recently he was stopped in the first round in a challenge for Naseem Hamed's WBO featherweight title.

Watson Wins Historic Ruling

Former WBO/WBA middleweight and WBO super-middleweight challenger Michael Watson this week won what has been described as a 'landmark decision' when the British High Court upheld his claim for damages against the British Boxing Board of Control.  The amount of damages will be set at a later date but Watson is believed to be seeking a sum in excess of 1,000,000.00 - an amount which could bankrupt the uninsured BBBC.

Watson, the first man to defeat Nigel Benn, lost by late stoppage to Mike McCallum and on a disputed decision to Chris Eubank in middleweight challenges.  A rematch with Eubank, for the WBO super-middleweight title, ended in tragedy when Watson, leading on points was stopped in the last round of a savage contest and collapsed moments later.  In the eleventh round Eubank, having been knocked down himself, threw a desperation uppercut which felled the advancing Watson who returned shakily to his corner.  A barrage of punches from Eubank caused the referee to call a halt early in the twelfth.

The judge ruled that, had safety measures such as the presence of an anaesthetist and paramedics at ringside been in place, Watson may well have recovered to lead a normal life.  As it was the fighter fell into a thirty day coma following surgery to remove bloodclots in his brain.  He is still partially paralysed and has suffered brain damage.  Chris Eubank, who welcomed the Court's ruling, was never the same fighter - seemingly haunted by the damage he had inflicted and reluctant to finish an opponent in contests which followed.

"I just want to see that other fighters out there get better treatment if they need it", the thirty-four year old Watson said.  "I want to make sure that younger boxers do not suffer the way I have and I still love this sport. The administration is wrong and hopefully this will help to make sure that people are responsible for what happens."

The BBBC lawyers were refused leave to appeal.

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