ALL SMILES: Michael Watson (left) with friend Lenny and promoter Barry Hearn (right)
BOXING STARS illuminated the Dorchester Hotel in central London on Tuesday to honour Michael Watson. In the building were Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Herol Graham, Johnny Nelson, Errol Christie and Kell Brook to name a few.
The star-studded occasion was to raise funds for Watson, dubbed the People’s Champion during his glittering career.
The Dorchester event on September 20 also marked two decades since Watson’s fateful challenge against Chris Eubank for the WBO super middleweight title.
On September 21, 1991 at White Hart Lane, referee Roy Francis stopped the fight in round 12, after which Watson collapsed in the ring.
Watson received treatment in a hospital neurosurgical unit and then spent 40 days in a coma and had six brain operations to remove a blood clot. He spent over a year in intensive care and rehabilitation and six more years in a wheelchair.
Barry Hearn of Matchroom, organisers of the Dorchester event, said: “Michael lost the contest against Chris, but has subsequently won the biggest fight of his life, not just with his miraculous recovery, but going on to lead an exemplary life.
“This 20 year anniversary occasion merits a very special celebratory evening indeed and that is exactly what I am planning with a gathering of worldwide boxing personalities aimed at producing one of the biggest benefit evenings for a past champion this country has ever seen.”