Previously undefeated Maxim Dadashev was taken to a hospital following his 11th-round loss to Subriel Matias on Friday night and underwent surgery because of brain swelling.
After trainer Buddy McGirt threw in the towel after Round 11 of the IBF 140-pound eliminator, Dadashev needed assistance leaving the ring. He left the arena on a stretcher and was taken to UM Prince George's Hospital Center.
Dadashev remains in the critical care unit following a two-hour surgery to relieve a subdural hematoma, or bleeding of the brain. He is in a medically-induced coma.
Early Saturday morning, neurosurgeon Mary IH Cobb told Dadashev's manager, Egis Klimas, and Janusevicius that the boxer had suffered a brain bleed on his right side, that his head was shaved and his scalp opened up, and that he was showing signs of severe brain damage. He had been given medication to decrease swelling.
"Right now, he's in critical condition, but the doctor told me that he's stable," Dadashev's strength and conditioning coach Donatas Janusevicius, who visited with the fighter on Saturday afternoon, told ESPN. "We know that the bleeding has stopped. Also, the swelling has stopped. So some positive news, and we hope and pray for the best."
Janusevicius is currently the direct point of contact for the Russian boxer, as his wife will not arrive in the States until Tuesday evening.
Dadashev vomited before he could reach his dressing room. An EMT was called in, and Dadashev was taken off on a stretcher.
It was a tough, grinding fight. Every round was hard for Dadashev, who was backing up for much of the fight, attempting to box yet still getting hit with a multitude of hard, heavy shots from Matias.
"We knew he was a puncher," Klimas said. "He fought, and he was tough. He put a lot of pressure on Max, and he was going back and back and back and back, but he was fighting back. Even in the ninth round, he kind of shook Matias for the first time in the fight."
Klimas added: "It never looked like Max was, like, shook down, or he was already, like, going down. I never saw that."
But still, Klimas believed Dadashev, who was well behind on points, had had enough and was going to ask McGirt to stop the fight.
"I didn't want him to go in the 12th round either," Klimas said.
For Klimas, there is a tragic juxtaposition to all this. In December, Adonis Stevenson suffered similar injuries in his bout with Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who is handled by Klimas. Stevenson, who was in a coma for a few weeks after that bout, has made a rather remarkable recovery and is beginning the process of walking and functioning as normally as possible.
"Hopefully it can be like Stevenson's recovery," Klimas said.
As the rounds mounted, Matias steadily piled up punches in his favor, outworking Dadashev and pounding the body consistently. In the later rounds, either because of exhaustion or desperation, Dadashev began to sit inside the pocket and fight with Matias. While he had some success, he was overwhelmed by Matias, whose punches had more effect.
The scores at the time of the stoppage were 109-100, 108-101 and 107-102 in favor of Matias. According to CompuBox, Matias outlanded Dadashev 319-157; 112 of Matias' punches were body shots.
"First of all, I'm very grateful for this opportunity," Matias said. "I showed that I am not just a power puncher. I also can box. I was dominating the fight. I focused my offense on going to the body, and that's how I stopped him from running."
But his fallen foe also was on his mind.
"I hope that Maxim is all right," Matias said. "He is a great fighter and a warrior."