A BOXER was last night in a drug-induced coma in hospital after collapsing following a title bout.
Light-middleweight Jason Rushton suffered "bleeding on the brain" during his fight, which was ended just a second from time by the referee.
Rushton, 26, was well behind his opponent and had been knocked down once in the tenth and final round before ending the match being pummelled on the ropes.
The Doncaster fighter had been taking on Brian Rose at the Bolton Arena, near Manchester. Rushton was unsteady as he left the ring and is believed to have collapsed outside his changing room. The rest of the bill was cancelled as match doctors went with him in the ambulance.
The injured fighter's promoter, Frank Maloney, told Scotland on Sunday: "Jason has been put into a drug-induced coma and it will be another 24 hours before the surgeons decide what to do.
"Jason's family have asked that no statements be made. All I can say is that no-one ever wants this to happen in boxing, which is as safe as it can be."
Maloney, who promoted the show, said Rushton had been operated on to relieve pressure on his brain, although doctors have not found a clot.
The British Boxing Board of Control, which insists two doctors, one an anaesthetist, are at every bout, said Rushton's fate would not be known until today . General-secretary Robert Smith said: "Jason had walked back to the changing room with the doctor before he collapsed.
"Doctors are monitoring Jason's condition. He is in a drug-induced coma, which is the normal procedure for this type of injury. They will know more in 24 hours or so."
Rushton is the first British boxer to suffer serious brain damage in the ring since Paul Ingles in December 2000. No British boxer has died from ring-inflicted injuries since James Murray lost his life in 1995, days after he collapsed in the last round of his bantamweight title fight against Drew Docherty in Glasgow.
Kevin McIntyre, a postman from Paisley and a former British welterweight champion, was in the ring fighting Brett Flournoy when Rushton collapsed. His fight was stopped after two rounds and declared a "no contest".
Last month Maloney discovered the body of his boxer Irish Olympic medallist Darren Sutherland, who had committed suicide in a London flat. The promoter himself suffered a heart attack.