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The Fight That Nearly Killed Me And Ended My Career – Coghill

British featherweight Connor Coghill suffered a bleed on his brain and was forced to retire from boxing after October’s defeat by Hopey Price in Sheffield.

Fighting on the undercard of the world-title contest between Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington, Coghill was dropped four times as the fight was halted in the 12th round.

In his BBC Sport column, Coghill reflects on what ended up being his last ever professional fight.

At the age of 28, my boxing career was over. As stupid as it sounds, my last ever professional fight – one which could have ended my life – was the highlight of my career.

I was in the meeting room with the doctor and my girlfriend. He shut the door behind him and said: “I don’t really know how to tell you this… you’ve got a bleed on the brain.”

“Will I be able to fight again?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

I didn’t ask him anything about an operation or what was next. As selfish as it sounds, I wasn’t really worried about the injury. I was more worried about boxing.

He said I might need it draining and part of my skull removing. That’s when I began to panic. OK, I may not be able to fight again but also I may never walk out of here.

I was in a waiting room for two hours, wired up to these machines. They eventually came in and said it was a minimal, controlled bleed and I won’t need an operation.

I knew I would never box again but I was grateful that a small kid from a council estate in Hull fought on the biggest stage – in front of 20,000 fans on a world-title undercard and live on DAZN.

That can’t be taken away from me. To end on that note, though it’s a bitter pill to swallow, makes me proud.

I’ve not watched the full fight back yet, just the highlights, although I do want to. It might be a bit difficult watching it back but the positive is that I’m here and I’m talking.

I was undefeated in 14 fights but Hopey Price was without a doubt my toughest test. He started well but then slowed down in the second round and I was putting him under pressure, winning the fight. I could feel his shots but they weren’t hurting me.

In the sixth round I got a bit carried away and walked on to a two-punch combination. It was just a flash knockdown. I got up, recovered straight away and then waved him on to say ‘come on, let’s have it’.

There were no headaches. Nothing to suggest what was going to happen to me in the week that followed.

After 10 rounds, despite the knockdown, I was still in the fight. My trainer, Stefy Bull, was telling me I’m two rounds away from winning it.

In the 11th I was boxing well but in the last 10 seconds Price caught me. I fell on to the ropes and he hit me again. That last punch hit the side of my head and I couldn’t recover.

Everyone has said he shouldn’t have hit me when I was down, but you’re in a fight and your adrenaline gets the better of you. I’d have probably done the same thing.

By now I knew I needed a knockout to win the fight. He bombarded me in the 12th round and dropped me twice. The second time, with just 90 seconds of the fight left, it was called off.

At the time I felt like the referee could have let me carry on, to finish the fight on my feet.

But if it had continued I would have had a minute and a half of punishment, and who knows what further damage that could have caused.

So I am thankful for the referee Bob Williams. It was a great decision.

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