Chris Eubank Junior has pledged his support to Nick Blackwell on Instagram after it was revealed that his former middleweight foe had made a surprise return to sparring and landed back in hospital as a result.
Eubank beat Blackwell by stoppage in a brutal fight earlier this year which resulted in the latter being placed in an induced coma for a week and being forced to retire from the sport.
However, despite being told to stay away from the ring, Blackwell engaged in some light sparring earlier this week which has resulted in his hospitalisation.
Upon learning the news, Eubank wrote in an Instagram post:
"Nick Blackwell is back in hospital, after he tried to start sparring again. I honestly hope everything is ok & the procedure he's had is not a serious one.
"He's a tough, tough kid, I know he'll get himself through this again."
Having made a full recovery from his injuries after the fight with Eubank, and hung up his gloves for good, Blackwell got his trainer’s licence from the British Boxing Board of Control in October.
But, British boxing chief Robert Smith confirmed that Blackwell had been taken ill after engaging in sparring earlier in the week but was stable having undergone a procedure to relieve pressure on the brain.
The news of Blackwell's latest scare has come as a shock to the boxing community due to the seriousness of his original injury.
Tony Bellew's trainer, Dave Coldwell, tweeted:
“Shocked at the news about Nick Blackwell...Even more shocked that someone was willing to get in the ring and spar to the head with him. Terrible. Goes without saying, really hope he recovers as well as he did originally.”
Matchroom Sport's Eddie Hearn said:
“I heard the news yesterday and thought it was a wind-up. How can someone allow him to go and spar?
"It’s hard because he doesn’t want to leave the sport, he loves the sport and it’s all he wants to do so I understand him.
“But where’s the person to grab hold of him and not let him? Everyone I know in boxing, no one would let him have a spar. No one. He shouldn’t have been in there.
"Although you have to blame him as well, it’s hard to do so because you can imagine what he’s going through mentally.”