A HEROIC barman has told how he battled to save the life of a teenager stabbed in the neck at a riot-hit Walsall Town Hall boxing event.
The worker, who asked not to be named, ripped his own shirt off and held it tightly against the 19-year-old victim’s neck, while an ambulance rushed to the scene.
Cradling the injured teenage in the hall’s foyer, the 25-year-old talked constantly to the fan – a regular at Walsall boxing nights – in a desperate bid to stop him slipping into unconsciousness.
“I was just saying anything,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “I was joking with him, trying to keep him awake. I was helping him, that’s all I was concentrating on.”
Despite his frantic efforts the young victim quickly became unresponsive.
Trouble erupted during local favourite Luke Paddock’s headlining contest against Derby’s Myron “Skillz” Mills for the world youth title.
Chairs and glasses were thrown before the mayhem spilled outside.
The barman stepped forward following a desperate plea for someone with first aid skills. He walked to the foyer where a ringside medic was already tending the injured man.
He said: “I saw someone lying on the floor and a doctor with him. I pressed my T-shirt against his neck and tried to keep him awake. There was a lot of blood. The ambulance was there within 10 minutes, it was very quick.
“I panicked after it happened, I didn’t panic at the time.”
He described the victim as a regular at the boxing shows and the first aider is still struggling to understand how a good natured sporting evening turned so ugly.
He said: “There had been no trouble, it was a decent crowd. And if you looked at the scene inside the hall afterwards, you wouldn’t have known anything took place.”
Eyewitnesses have told the Birmingham Mail things turned ugly after rival fans began banging loudly on tables.
An investigation will provide answers, but one thing is already clear – Saturday night’s appalling violence has stained the sport.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “A 19-year-old man is in a critical condition in hospital and another man was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“The scene has been cordoned off while forensic enquiries are conducted and officers are speaking to witnesses to establish what has happened.”
Walsall Superintendent Sue Parker held a press conference outside the town hall on Sunday afternoon, and revealed a number of people had also suffered minor injuries in the disturbances.
Detective Inspector Ian Wilkins from force CID, said the ‘large scale disorder’ had resulted in a teenager receiving life threatening injuries.
“The event was attended by several hundred people and we are trawling CCTV to identify those involved,” he said.
“We are in the early stages of our enquiry and I would urge anyone who witnessed what happened and has not yet spoken to us to come forward.”
He later added: “We have widened our cordon following an initial examination to search for potentially discarded weapons and any other evidence which can lead us to those involved.
“A young man is in a critical condition with a serious neck injury. Several others received less serious injuries and we are keen to establish what caused the disorder.
“I would like to hear from anyone who witnessed what happened or anyone who may have captured it on their mobile phones.”
*Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.