Boxer in coma with bleed­ing on the brain

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - BILL BEA­CON

Jour­ney­man boxer David Whit­tom was in an in­duced coma at Saint John Re­gional Hospi­tal on Mon­day fol­low­ing surgery to treat bleed­ing on the brain af­ter a knock­out loss.

The 38-year-old was listed in sta­ble con­di­tion, said his trainer Fran­cois Duguay.

Whit­tom (12-24-1), a Saint Quentin, N.B. na­tive based in Que­bec City, was knocked out in the 10th round of a bout for the Cana­dian cruis­er­weight ti­tle against Gary Kopas (8-11-2) of Saska­toon in Fred­er­ic­ton on Satur­day night.

He got up off the can­vas and seemed fine as he left the build­ing with his girl­friend and his mother, Duguay said. But his girl­friend called shortly af­ter they ar­rived at their ho­tel to say that Whit­tom had a se­vere headache and was sweat­ing and nau­seous. He was taken to hospi­tal in Fred­er­ic­ton and trans­ferred to Saint John when it was de­ter­mined he had suf­fered a brain in­jury.

Surgery was per­formed early Sun­day morn­ing. Duguay said doc­tors con­sid­ered it progress on Mon­day that he was deemed fit to un­dergo a brain scan.

Whit­tom, once a promis­ing su­per-mid­dleweight who fought world ti­tle con­tenders like Adrian Di­a­conu and Elei­der Al­varez and fu­ture WBC cham­pion Ado­nis Steven­son, has lost 19 of his last 21 bouts. He was in his first fight in 14 months.

He bat­tled al­co­hol and drug abuse ear­lier in his ca­reer and twice con­sid­ered re­tire­ment, only to stay in the ring de­spite the de­feats.

“He’d been clean for 26 months and he was in top shape,” said Duguay. “It was a winnable fight, that’s why I took the fight.”

He said Whit­tom was lead­ing on the judges’ score­cards when he was knocked out, which may have come from an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of shots rather than one knock­out punch, he said.

Vin­cent Morin, a friend and for­mer team­mate on the Que­bec am­a­teur box­ing team who han­dles me­dia re­la­tions for Mon­treal pro­moter Groupe Yvon Michel, said box­ing was more than just a sport for Whit­tom.

“He hung up his gloves twice, but he was al­ways com­ing back to box­ing be­cause it was his way out,” said Morin. “It was known he had al­co­hol and drug prob­lems and the only thing that kept him on track was box­ing.”

Morin said Whit­tom’s in­jury may cause other re­tired box­ers to think twice about re­turn­ing to the ring.

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