DEVIZES trainer Liam Wilkins will appeal the decision of the British Boxing Board of Control to withdraw his licence following an unsanctioned sparring session which left Trowbridge's former British middleweight Nick Blackwell fighting for his life in hospital, it was revealed today.
In a joint statement, Wilkins and boxer Hasan Karkardi, who was also sanctioned by the BBBoC and suspended for six months, insisted they would be challenging the ruling and the BBBoC procedure in the wake of the sparring session in November.
Blackwell retired from boxing after he suffered a bleed on the skull and was put into an induced coma following a fight with Chris Eubank Jr early last year.
He suffered a bleed on the brain but did not require surgery and woke one week later, going on to be granted a trainer's licence by the Board.
However, he admitted he was struggling to accept that his boxing career was over, resulting in the ill-fated sparring session which resulted in him being taken hospital, where he had surgery to remove a part of his skull.
Following a hearing, which Blackwell was too ill to attend, the Board described Wilkins' conduct as "detrimental to the interests of boxing", and added: "In view of the seriousness thereof, it is not in the interests or welfare of boxing for him to hold a trainer's licence."
However, a statement released on behalf of Wilkins and Karkardi said: "During this disciplinary process, which we fully understand is both sensitive and of great public interest, out of respect for both Nick Blackwell and the process itself, both Hasan and I have so far remained silent as to our position.
"However, having attended the hearing which took place before the stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control in Cardiff last Wednesday 11th January, and the decision of the stewards, which was communicated both to us and on the Board's website on Friday afternoon (13th), we feel we have to make a short statement to defend our reputation given the continued negative coverage we are both receiving.
"The statement made by the Board made no mention whatsoever of the fact that we have the right to appeal the stewards' decision, which gave a misleading impression that the proceedings had been concluded.
"The appeal has to be made within 14 clear days of the receipt of the decision in accordance with Regulation 28 of the Board's Rules and Regulations 2016 (which is not a publicly available document).
"We would like to make clear that we wrote to the Board and gave them the opportunity to correct the statement.
"However, despite it being in the interests of good governance to do so, they refused, saying there was no obligation upon them to mention the right of appeal.
"Needless to say, we will be filing our formal notice of appeal within the deadline specified and in doing so we will be challenging both the Board's procedure and their findings as to the facts, which were made in the face of substantial documentary and witness evidence to the contrary.
"Finally, we wish to make it clear that this unfortunate incident, and subsequent disciplinary action, has absolutely nothing to do with Devizes Amateur Boxing Club in Wiltshire.
"We will be making no further comment until the appeal process has concluded.''
Blackwell is continuing to recover from his latest injury and is expected to undergo a second operation to replace the part of his skull he had removed.
REPORT BY W TIMES - Trowbridge