I am going to put a fair amount of money on the fact that if I were to mention the names of light heavyweight Hasan Karkadi, 7-1, 1 KO’s, or of trainer, Liam Wilkins, readers of this column would be unaware of who they are. Their names though are highly significant in one of the most damning events in a gym in the UK for some time.
As we are all struggling to understand how an entire countries’ desire for sporting genius would see a systematic cheating program putting the lives of their athletes in danger, knowingly, willingly and one would think with the collaboration of those athletes, these names shall become lip synched to the tragedy of Nick Blackwell.
These are the names of the man who climbed into the ring opposite Blackwell and the trainer who supervised the session. OK it is not on the scale of around 1,000 cheating athletes but this is an event that ended with Blackwell back in hospital and back in surgery, clinging on to his life.
Both have been suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control; rightly so. Boxer Karkadi was due to fight for title this weekend; he shall not be doing so now. The Board are waiting for Blackwell to improve before he too, a licenced trainer since February 2016, shall be dealt with.
Let us not think for a second that he has already suffered enough. It would be a travesty to the sport if we ignored the fact that Blackwell probably forced the issue and gave assurances to both Karkadi and Wilkins, young entrants to the game, that ensured their compliance.
Losing your livelihood is hard. Losing the love of your life is harder. When they are both one and the same thing it must be torture. The problem, however, is in attempting to recapture your livelihood and your love it is not all right to threaten your own life and the emotions of those closest to you. If you are in doubt who they are, think back to when they were all around your bed in hospital.
Just what further punishment shall be given out to the two of them, to Blackwell or other licenced personnel who were in the gym at the time is still to be determined but we all know that this is likely to be a hefty and painful process.
It follows the £25,000 fine plus 2 year suspended suspension handed out to Derrick Chisora 26-2, 18 KO’s, this week due to his throwing a table at his opponent for this weekend, Dillian Whyte, 19-1, 15 KO’s. If the throwing of furniture can end up with a financially punitive amount out your bank account and the possibility of losing your livelihood for a 2 year period if you lose your cool again, goodness knows what is likely to happen to those involved in this tragic episode.
The biggest problem for those of us who follow the sweet science is the bitter taste it leaves when we sit to report on the progress of boxers who are fighting for their lives through putting those lives on the line in the ring – legitimately. Eduard Gutknecht, 30-5-1, 13 KO’s, having lost recently to George Groves, 25-3, 18 KO’s, is still in a coma, in a London hospital and his recovery is one we should be hoping for without any distractions.
Of course, in any entertainment industry some of the distractions can be, like the shenanigans that were seen at the Chisora/Whyte press conference, might divert some of the attention but it reminds us that we have a live event. It is not however about there being bodies at the end of it, committing the equivalent of suicide.
The relative young ages of both of these BBB of C licence holders makes the opportunity for mitigation likely. Wilkins is only 21 years of age. Karkadi though does have a pretty checkered past. He was an Iranian refugee who arrived in the UK in 2012. 2 years later he was discharged from a sexual assault charge when the jury could not reach a verdict – he denies the charges.
As a counterpoint to such revelation let me leave you with the statement from the team around Eduard Gutknecht “Our team captain Eddy is currently still in London at the hospital. His condition is referred to by doctors as stable and his organs are working normally. He is intubated and is constantly monitored whether the possibility of normality is given. Unfortunately, we have to be patient. Forecasts and assumptions can go in all directions and bring nothing at all. Possible consequential damages cannot be excluded by the doctors after such a serious injury. It is very difficult for the family, with this situation. It is constantly and immediately present someone from the family is with him, if necessary.
All are deeply touched. The entire Wiking Box Team suffers with Eddy and is affected by the lasting impressions. But we also know that we are talking about boxing and like all high-performance sports, and in addition to the joy of competition and the ceremony at the victory, unfortunately, always the risk of injury is present.”
May we move on from stupidity to being supportive of bravery and distinction.Contact the Feature Writers