Amateur boxer aspired to work for NHS before death

Jubal Reji Kurian
Jubal Reji Kurian suffered a blow to his face which knocked him unconscious [PA Media]

A 23-year-old amateur boxer who died after suffering a traumatic brain injury from being punched at a charity fight wanted to work for the NHS, an inquest heard.

Jubal Reji Kurian died four days after he was knocked unconscious during a boxing competition at Harvey Hadden Sports Village in Bilborough, Nottingham, on 25 March 2023.

He suffered bleeding on both sides of his brain, killing his brain stem following the punch to his face, which made him fall backwards onto the ground, the inquest was told.

Coroner Laurinda Bower closed the inquest on Tuesday, concluding Mr Kurian's death was an accident.

In a statement read by the coroner, Mr Kurian's father called him their "beloved son" who was a "cherished member of the family".

"Jubal had a particular interest in charitable activities and being a force for good.

"He was eager to make a meaningful contribution to society.

"He was a dreamer and an achiever, and set off to Bangalore and pursued a bachelor's in physiotherapy."

'Formidable in the ring'

Six months before his death, Mr Kurian had moved to the UK to begin a master's degree at the University of Nottingham in sports medicine, but it was his ultimate goal to "serve the NHS" as a physiotherapist.

His father described him as a "highly athletic individual" who played many sports, but had no experience in boxing, and only revealed his interest in the combat sport days before the match.

In a statement read by Ms Bower, Mr Kurian's friend Mr Singh, who was at the fight, said he was "formidable in the ring".

"The tide turned in the third round and seeing him knocked out is a sight that still haunts me," it read.

"His absence is keenly felt and his future unjustly taken."

Harvey Hadden Sports Village
The charity fight took place at Harvey Hadden Sports Village last year [PA Media]

The inquest heard from Det Sgt Sarah Gregg, of Nottinghamshire Police, who had ruled out criminality during the investigation following Mr Kurian's death.

"We decided there was no criminal activity because we could see on CCTV that it was a boxing match. Participants had signed waivers to say they undertook a certain amount of risk," she told the inquest.

"There was no intention to assault or cause injury to anyone."

Ms Bower concluded: "His sudden and unexpected death is a tragedy, especially because he was boxing with the intention of helping others with his efforts of raising money for charity. This speaks to the very honourable man he was."

Addressing Mr Kurian's opponent, Ian David, she said: "I can't imagine the scale of emotion you have been through. I'm sure you are aware that you bear no responsibility or accountability for what happened."

Ms Bower found that Ultra White Collar Boxing, a club organised by Ultra Events which hosted the charity boxing match, followed the organisation's safety policies and completed the correct medical checks for the amateur boxers before and after the match.

Jonathan Leonard, director of Ultra Events, said: "The death of Jubal, following this tragic accident, deeply saddened everyone at Ultra Events and we continue to offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.

"While there is always a level of risk associated with boxing at any level of the sport, the safety and welfare of all our participants is of paramount importance to us."

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