Blackwell trainer Lockett: Right decision to withdraw Wilkins licence

Nick Blackwell
Nick Blackwell is making a steady recovery, his former trainer says

Nick Blackwell's ex-trainer Gary Lockett says the British Boxing Board of Control was right to withdraw Liam Wilkins' training licence.

Wilkins, 21, will appeal against the punishment for the sparring session in November that left retired fighter Blackwell in a coma for a second time.

"I think it was the correct decision by the British Boxing Board of Control, but I think it is a bit surprising it is a lifelong ban," Lockett said.

"He's a young boy isn't he?"

Blackwell, 26, retired from the ring after suffering a bleed on the skull in his British middleweight title fight with Chris Eubank Jr in March 2016 and spending a week in an induced coma.

But he sparred with Hasan Karkardi on 22 November at a boxing club in Devizes, Wiltshire and was again left in a coma.

The BBBofC said Wilkins' conduct was "detrimental to the interests of boxing".

Karkardi, 29, was banned for six months for taking part and will not appeal against his punishment.

Wilkins received his licence in February 2016.

Lockett told BBC Wales Sport: "Perhaps he was licensed, but came from an inexperienced past. If he has been licensed under those sort of circumstances, then maybe you have a little bit of sympathy.

Gary Lockett
Gary Lockett fought for a world middleweight title in 2008

"But if he had any experience in boxing at all, then he deserves everything he has got."

Lockett says Blackwell is making good progress as he recovers from his injuries, but reiterated that the recovery would be slow.

A family member had told BBC Sport that although Blackwell was out of the coma he was a year away from making a full recovery.

"The hospital say he is ahead of schedule," Lockett said.

"He is not walking yet - he is speaking, he is smiling, but there is a long old road.

"He was very stupid doing what he did, but what does that mean? That we all stop caring for him?

"He is a massive, massive loss to myself and the boxers because he was a great person to have around the camp, bright and positive.

"But we hope to see him back and smiling again, however long it may take."

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