Medic at fatal boxing match knew some fighters “hadn’t been checked”
- Credit: Archant
A medic hired at the last minute for a boxing event in which a 22-year-old died admitted he knew some of the fighters had not been checked before they got in the ring because a piece of equipment had broken.
Jakub Moczyk, known to his family and friends as Kuba, died after receiving a series of punches to the head in the third round of a bout at the Atlantis Tower Arena, Great Yarmouth, in November 2016.
Aurelijus Kerpe, 34, of Great Yarmouth, and medical provider Andrew Cowlard, 54, of Ormesby, have denied health and safety failings at the event and are standing trial at Norwich Crown Court.
On the opening day of the trial, the court heard how medical checks before the fight were "slapdash" or not done at all, risk assessments were filled out just hours before the fight and medics hired at the "last minute".
Cowlard ran a company called LifeShield Medical Services from 2013 after a career as an army medic since 1988.
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On the day of the fight he was working on a film set in London when his partner called him at 4.30pm saying they had been offered a job at the Tower Arena.
He said his partner began the medicals and he took over when he arrived between 7.15pm and 7.30pm.
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In evidence at the inquest into Kuba's death, read aloud at court on Thursday, he said when he arrived he was told certain things hadn't been done because a blood pressure machine had broken.
"I came in with another one and took blood pressures," he said.
He added paperwork hadn't been provided by the venue so they had to make notes on a scrap of A4 and a small notebook.
But some of the boxers' names didn't feature, and others didn't have vitals noted down.
"One of the problems we had is some of [the fighters] arrived at different times," he said. "Some of them were supposed to come back later that night to have their medical confirmed and written off."
He admitted there was "no record" of Kuba's opponent that night, and he "hadn't been checked".
"Every boxer is supposed to have had a medical before they fight. The problem is there was 14 bouts so you could have 28 fighters.
"There were quite a few we hadn't medicalled we were meant to medical later at an interval."
Asked what he would do if he realised a boxer had not been checked, he said: "Normally I would take it up with the promoter and the ref. Normally what happens is they let them fight.
"I carried out a quick look and a quick feel, [my partner] did the main one."
Describing the third round of Kuba's bout Cowlard described his opponent as being like a "bull out of a china shop".
"He caught Kuba with a right hook which put Kuba on the floor," he said. "He started up and wavered a bit. The ref asked him if he wanted to continue and he sort of nodded.
"He got caught about 20 seconds later with a left upper cut. That was the start of the night going bad."
He said he couldn't get a response from Kuba, who was fitting, and he tried to clear his airways until the paramedics arrived.
Mobile phone and CCTV footage of the third round of Kuba's bout was played to the jury, which saw him caught with a "flurry of blows" before collapsing.
The trial, expected to last a week and a half, continues.