A former British boxer who became Commonwealth middleweight champion in 1989, Michael Watson was one of the most talented fighters of his generation. While competing for the WBO super-middleweight title against Chris Eubank in 1991 he suffered a devastating brain injury that cut short his career and caused him long-lasting injuries. Having to learn how to walk and talk again, Michael’s story of recovery is truly inspirational and something he can discuss at length during his speaking events.
In the late 80s, Michael was at the peak of his powers defeating fighter after fighter. Arguably the crowning glory of his career came in May 1989 when he defeated Nigel Benn to win the Commonwealth middleweight title. He retained the title two years later when he was victorious over Australian fighter Craig Trotter. Unfortunately, this was one of his last ever professional fights. In September 1991 he went up against Chris Eubank for the chance to win the WBO super-middleweight title. A few months earlier he’d been defeated by Eubank and was keen not to let history repeat itself. However, during the bout, while ahead on points, Eubank’s uppercut caused Michael to go down and hit his head on the ropes. The hit caused a devastating brain injury and he spent 40 days in a coma, underwent multiple surgeries and had to teach himself to walk and talk again.
Since then, Michael’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. While his day-to-day life is very different, he’s still been able to excel in the sporting world. In 2003 he completed the London Marathon, walking four hours per day and sleeping in an overnight bus in the evening. Michael completed the last leg of the race with his neurosurgeon and Chris who both are his firm friends. During this endeavour, he raised thousands of pounds for the Brain and Spine Foundation.
When booked as a speaker Michael expands on how he went from competing at the highest level of British boxing to struggling to walk, talk or be independent. Additionally, Michael shares how his injury was not the only hurdle he overcame, and the discrimination he faced due to race was an impacting factor in his career. Having been influential in improving diversity in sport, Michael now replicates this feat across all industries as a speaker.