What started out as an entertaining world title bout turned tragic when defending WBC super featherweight champion Frida Wallberg was hospitalized for a severe brain hemorrhage following a TKO loss to Diana Prazak Friday night in Stockholm, Sweden.
Wallberg (11-1, 2 KO’s) was making the third defense of the title she won from Olivia Gerula in 2010 against U.S. based Australian Diana Prazak (12-2, 8 KO’s) at the Water Front Congress SAS Radisson in Stockholm. It was an entertaining bout from the start; fast paced with both ladies landing their fair share of scoring shots, though Wallberg was doing enough to stay ahead on the scorecards.
The defending champ was stunned in the early moments of the seventh round when Prazak connected with a sweeping right hand, but continued to fight on moving into the eighth frame, until she was dropped at the halfway point when Prazak landed short left hook. Wallberg beat the count, but hit the canvas again seconds later when Prazak connected with a right hand, giving referee Bela Florian reason enough to wave off the bout.
As Diana Prazak and former world champion Lucia Rijker, who was working Prazak’s corner, celebrated the victory, Wallberg returned to her corner, and after a brief look by ringside doctor, fell into her trainers arms. Seconds later she was slumped over the top rope, Prazak and Rijker joined the corner to aid the fighter with both calling the doctor back to the ring.
Wallberg was given oxygen, taken from the ring on a stretcher, and rushed to Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, where she underwent surgery for a subdural hematoma, bleeding on the brain. After remaining in a medically induced coma through Saturday, she awoke Sunday morning and is said to be doing well all things considered.
The ringside doctor for the bout, Robert Ludwig, has come under heavy scrutiny by some for failing to properly recognize the situation and give Wallberg the medical attention she required. Lucia Rijker however, has been praised for her actions in aiding the fighter: without her, this situation could have ended with far worse results.
The circumstances surrounding the bout have also sparked talk about bringing back a ban on boxing in Sweden, where the sport was non-existent for 36 years until the ban was lifted in 2006. Sweden’s minister of culture and sport, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, has stated that professional boxing is being reviewed.
*Thank you to Ted Sares of Boxing.com for keeping us updated on the situation throughout the weekend.
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