Boxer recovering, but unlikely to fight again

CRITICAL: Daniel MacKinnon takes a blow to the head in his title fight with Robert Berridge in Hamilton.
CRITICAL: Daniel MacKinnon takes a blow to the head in his title fight with Robert Berridge in Hamilton.

Otorohanga boxer Daniel McKinnon could possibly have fought his last fight.

McKinnon is awake and talking after collapsing in his dressing room and undergoing emergency brain surgery following his light heavyweight title fight against Robert Berridge in Hamilton on Saturday night.

But McKinnon's manager, Ken Reinsfield, said the injury could possibly end McKinnon's days as a boxer.

"Where we go from here, that's a decision that needs to be made with his family in mind."

The fight between McKinnon and Berridge was the undercard for the David Tua-Alexander Ustinov battle, which Tua lost.

The brutal undercard bout was called off in round 10 by the referee, with Berridge winning by technical knockout.

Boxing people spoken to by the Waikato Times yesterday were adamant life-threatening injuries like McKinnon's were uncommon.

Ginny Wallace, from Waikato Boxing Association Inc, said she had been involved with the sport for about 12 years and could not recall a similar incident.

Mr Reinsfield described the incident as "freaky" and "fluky" and the president of the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association, Lance Revill, said the injuries were preventable with good preparation.

But latest ACC figures show the number of concussion/brain-injury claims has increased steeply over the past five years. New claims have risen from 18 in 2008/09 to 36 in 2012/13.

Active claims have more than doubled over the same period too.

The cost of concussion/brain-injury claims from boxing was $16,154 over the past financial year, while the total cost for boxing related injuries was $2.3 million.

Mr Reinsfield said incidents like this could sometimes prompt a knee-jerk reaction from critics but they were rare.

"It's probably less common than people becoming paraplegic from rugby.

"But it's interesting that no-one calls for the ban of rugby afterwards."

McKinnon is a veteran fighter and works as a trainer at Shane Cameron Fitness in Auckland.

The father of three was recovering well and due to be moved out of intensive care yesterday, Mr Reinsfield said.