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Boxer Critical After Knockout

January 30, 1999

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A professional boxer was badly injured Friday after being knocked out in a bout here.

Fernando Ibarra of Laredo, Texas, was knocked out by Ratanachai Vorapin, the No. 1 contender for the International Boxing Federation’s junior flyweight crown.

Ibarra fell hard to the canvas after taking a hard punch to the jaw. Officials said the knockout occurred 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 sitting in a 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.″

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

A hospital spokeswoman said she had no information on Ibarra’s condition. But a handler 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, is 30-3 after the knockout. Ibarra was listed in the fight’s program as the Spanish champion. He is 14-6.

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

St. Louis seldom holds professional boxing matches. The fight was the second of five on the card at the Regal Riverfront Hotel. The event was promoted by Doug Hartman Productions and televised on Fox Sports Midwest.

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