Chris Eubank and Michael Watson’s horror fight, negligence and terrible regret

Chris Eubank is still wracked with guilt and still struggles to comprehend what happened on the fateful night he fought Michael Watson.

Having somewhat controversially won their thrilling 12-round first fight in June 1991 by a tight points decision, Eubank faced off against Watson again just three months later.

The competitive pair met at White Hart Lane in September that year for the vacant WBO super middleweight title – in a match which would be remembered for horrifying reasons.

Their rematch was just as fierce a their first bout, but this time Watson was ahead on the cards after knocking Eubank to the floor in the penultimate round.

Watson looked destined to win the match and pick up his first career title, but resolute Eubank stunned everyone by bouncing back on his feet.

Eubank then landed a devastating uppercut which knocked Watson off his feet, causing him to fall backwards and hit the back of his head against the ropes.

Watson got back up to his feet but the referee Roy Francis stopped the fight just seconds into the final round.

While Eubank celebrated his victory, unaware of the tragic accident which was about to unfold, Watson collapsed in the ring.

With no paramedics at the fight, British Boxing Board of Control medic plus doctors in dinner jackets did what they could to help the stricken boxer.

Watson did not receive oxygen for eight minutes and it would be another 20 before he was taken to the nearest hospital.

The fighter spent 40 days in a coma and had six operations to remove a blood clot that formed in is brain.

Not only was his boxing career over, but there were fears Watson would never recover as initially he couldn't hear, speak or walk.

However, he mounted an incredible recovery after spending over a year in intensive care and rehabilitation and six more years in a wheelchair.

Slowly, Watson recovered movement and the ability to speak and write.

He sued the British Boxing Board of Control for negligence, claiming the necessary medical care was not ringside.

The High Court ruled that the BBBoC was responsible for medical provision at a fight and that administering oxygen and resuscitation on site would have made a considerable difference to Watson's outcome.

Mr Justice Kennedy said that the board was "in breach of its duty to Mr Watson" and he won damages reported to be of around £1 million.

There was a huge debate into safety after Watson's injuries and new regulations were brought in.

A neurological hospital had to be within 10 minutes of the arena where the fight was taking place, while an ambulance and paramedics were required on site.

The inquest into the medical failings that evening reshaped British boxing and thousands of lives have since been saved in sold-out world title fights and in empty small halls.

Watson showed his incredible determination by completing the London Marathon in 2003, raising money for the Brain and Spine Foundation.

Sleeping overnight on a bus, Watson walked two hours each morning and afternoon for six long days.

He finished the race alongside his neurosurgeon and Eubank, who both became close personal friends.

Watson was awarded an MBE for services to disability sport and was a torchbearer for the 2012 Paralympics.

What happened to Watson had a massive impact on boxing and almost certainly saved lives in the future.

Eubank still struggles to comprehend what happened on that night three decades ago.

During filming for an emotional episode of Piers Morgan's Life Stories, which airs tonight on ITV, the former boxer broke down in tears while discussing Watson's near-fatal brain injury.

"I don’t know whether I can even make sense of what happened. Him having to go through what he’s gone through and to still be here," confessed Eubank.

Breaking down in tears, struggling to get his words out, he said: "I can’t tell you how sorry I am. It’s the only thing I regret in my career."

But he had the support of Watson, who shouts out from the audience with some incredible words to his friend.

"Let's move on Chris, it’s all right, it's OK brov. Let's move on in life. Peace and love," he said.

"I love you Chris. Let's move on. We are born warriors, we are real. God bless you Chris.

"This could have happened to anyone. It was a sheer accident."

When Piers asked if he had always felt as forgiving towards Eubank, Michael explains he's been brought up as a "lover not a hater" and is a "loving soul".

Watson said he attended the Piers Morgan’s Life Stories interview as he wanted "to be part of the story", but Chris replied: "Well, Michael, you are the story."

Piers then discussed how Michael's devastating injury resulted in massive changes being made in boxing, with new safety regulations being brought in.

"Yeah, many, many fighters have survived and are able bodied because of what happened that night to Michael," explained Eubank.

He added: "You are a standard bearer. As soon as you start fighting in that ring or on that mat, you know, you've got the world looking at you because the first instinct of a man is to protect. That is to fight.

"Now, can you be a gentleman while you're doing it? Can you do it truly? Can you go beyond? You can't win a fight, so do you quit because you can't win or do you go on taking that beating?

"And if you can go on taking that beating, what you're doing for the public, you are you are lifting their spirits.

"And there's no better vocation, lifting the spirits of others. You know, whatever your predicament, whatever situation you're in, you can rise. And that's what we do."

Piers has gone on record to state that his interview with Eubank next week had one of the "most powerful moments" in Life Stories history.

The presenter admitted he saw a "powerful and very real" side of Eubank that he had not seen before which shows how much the Watson fight impacted him.

Speaking on The One Show, Piers said: "It was the most powerful moment of any Life Stories episode ever.

"We're up to 100 shows in this series but that one, that moment next week, you have these two great warriors who fought and Michael Watson – he nearly died, he was in a coma for 40 days, in a wheelchair for six days. Now made an extraordinary comeback.

"It was so touching to see these two great men, who'd fought each other for the world title and then been defined for what happened in the aftermath, sharing that emotion together. It was spine-tingling."

*Piers Morgan’s Life Stories airs tonight on ITV at 9pm

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