Boxer on life support as Britons call for ban

The Associated Press

LONDON As Gerald McClellan's chances of survival improved yesterday, British boxing officials dismissed appeals for the sport to be banned and called for a world body to supervise safety in boxing.

McClellan remained in critical but stable condition on a life support machine at Royal London Hospital, where he had a large blood clot removed from his brain after being stopped by Nigel Benn in a WBC super-middleweight title fight Saturday night.

John Sutcliffe, the neurosurgeon who performed the operation early Sunday, said ''his chance of survival improves with every hour that passes.''

''We think he will now survive,'' Sutcliffe said. ''Hopefully we will get him through it and at the end of the day get him through it in good condition.''

The surgeon said it was too early to say whether McClellan would suffer long-term brain damage or disabilities but that his boxing career was over.

Members of McClellan's family mother Stacey McClellan, girlfriend Angela Brown, aunt Linda Shorter and sister Stacey Caien visited the boxer's bedside Monday after flying in from the United States.

''He is in very capable hands and I am cautiously optimistic he will be all right,'' said promoter Don King.

McClellan, of Freeport, Ill., collapsed in his corner after being counted out in the 10th round of what was widely described by the British media as the most brutal fight ever seen in the country.

The tragedy triggered fresh demands for boxing to be banned, a campaign that has been led for years by the British Medical Association.

But the British boxing community called a news conference Monday to defend the sport and it's safety procedures.

''You'll never silence the critics,'' said John Morris, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control.

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