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Boxer Ibarra Injured After Knockout

January 30, 1999

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Fernando Ibarra, a boxer from Texas, was seriously injured Friday night after he was knocked out in a fight.

Ibarra was knocked out by Ratanachai Vorapin, the No. 1 contender for the IBF’s junior flyweight crown. He then fell hard to the canvas after taking a punch to the jaw in the fifth-round of the scheduled eight-round bout.

Ibarra, from Laredo, regained consciousness shortly after hitting the canvas and was led away from the ring. But sitting in a chair away from the ring, 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.″

Ibarra was taken to Saint Louis University Hospital. A 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 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.″

Police were called to the scene, but officer Ron Turner said no charges would be filed.

St. Louis seldom hosts pro 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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