George Groves believes tragic boxer Eduard Gutknecht could have been saved by the referee or his own corner.
Groves overcame the Kazakh fighter in a brutal, one-sided affair that went the full 12 rounds at Wembley Arena in 2016. Shortly after the Brit was awarded the victory by an unanimous decision, Gutknecht collapsed in the dressing room and was rushed to hospital.
A bleed on the brain was later detected and he needed lifesaving surgery to reduce the swelling on his brain, before being place an induced coma. While Gutknecht did eventually wake up, he now requires full-time medical care and has immense difficulty walking and talking. And Groves believes an earlier intervention from the referee or Gutknecht’s team may well have prevented the traumatic incident.
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“I boxed Eddie in a ‘keep busy’ fight really,” Groves said to the ‘Anything Goes with James English’ podcast. “It was on Channel 5. The WBA were taking a long time, [so we thought] ‘let’s have another fight, keep busy, a little bit of money comes in’.
“We boxed, it goes the full 12 rounds, he was never really in the fight. I landed some big shots on him but nothing to stop him or prompt the referee.
“I think the referee could have done him a favour or, more likely, the corner should have done him a favour, but that’s all hindsight.
“He collapses in the changing room and I remember being in my changing room, when my physio came over and whispered ‘Eddie’s collapsed in the dressing room’ and you know what that means – that’s bad!
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“They rushed him to hospital, he had a bleed on the brain, I think they put him in an induced coma, and operated on him.” Groves refused to talk about his boxing performance in his post-fight press conference as a show of respect to Gutknecht.
And the Brit also visited him in the hospital five days after their bout at Wembley Arena. “I go and visit him with Nisse Sauerland on the Wednesday and he [Gutknecht] was in Paddington hospital,” Groves added.
“He was like a shell of the man that he was. It was crazy, I couldn’t believe that someone could deteriorate that much over four days.”
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