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Boxer Is In Critical Condition

January 30, 1999

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A professional boxer was in critical condition today after he was hurt by a punch to the jaw in a fight.

Fernando Ibarra of Laredo, Texas, was knocked out by Ratanachai Vorapin, the No. 1 IBF junior flyweight contender, on Friday night.

Ibarra fell hard to the canvas after taking the knockout punch in the sixth round of a scheduled eight-round fight.

Ibarra regained consciousness shortly after hitting the canvas and was led away from the ring. But in the dressing room later, Ibarra became unresponsive, said Tim Lueckenhoff, administrator of the Missouri Office of Athletics, which oversees boxing in the state.

``They noticed that he wasn’t responding,″ Lueckenhoff said. ``As soon as the doctor was called back, they called 911.″

Shortly after the call, Ibarra stopped breathing and had no pulse, ringside physician Al Sandler said. Sandler revived Ibarra, who was then tken to Saint Louis University Hospital.

Ibarra was listed in critical condition at mid-morning, a hospital spokeswoman said, adding she had no other details on the extent of his injury.

A handler for the boxer said Ibarra was taken to intensive care with a serious brain injury.

``They’re operating on his brain,″ Herman Barrios said late Friday.

Vorapin, of Thailand, has a 30-3 record. Ibarra is 14-6.

``It was a one-punch knockout,″ Lueckenhoff said. ``He took one punch square on the jaw and he was out.″

The fight was the second of five on the card at the Regal Riverfront Hotel.

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