FORMER BOXER BLACKWELL WAKES FROM COMA
The 26-year-old retired in April after collapsing in the ring, having been stopped in the 10th round of his British middleweight title fight against Chris Eubank Jr.
Blackwell suffered a bleed on the skull, but regained consciousness only to suffer complications when sparring last month.
The former British champion's family were told that he may be paralysed if he woke up, but he has defied the odds before Christmas.
John Blackwell, the ex-boxer's father, told The Wiltshire Times: "We're all absolutely delighted. We've been hoping he would get to this stage but didn't think it would be for another few months yet.
"He's out of intensive care and has been put in a new ward in his own room. Even nurses are surprised at how he's recovered over the past week.
"There's still a long road ahead, though, and he'll need another operation sometime next year to replace the part of his skull which is missing, but we're just so happy to see him smiling again."
He added: "The last four weeks have been utter hell.
"The first week in particular was awful. We had everything going through our heads and experts were telling us that it was 50-50 whether or not he would make it.
"We would have given up everything we had just to see him recover – nothing else has mattered to us other than making sure he makes it.
"We're all going to visit him in hospital on Christmas Day. It would be amazing if he's able to pull crackers and share jokes with us."
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