Boxing legends and fans alike have rallied in support of Nottingham-born fighter Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham after he was admitted to a mental health hospital.
Graham, widely regarded in the sport as the best British boxer never to win a world title, grew up in Radford and became a middleweight sensation, dazzling fans in the 1980s.
He retired in 1998 and faced an uphill struggle to find purpose outside the sport, having battled depression.
In his 2011 autobiography he revealed he had attempted suicide, but since 2016 has been inspiring local people as a coach at Nottingham School of Boxing, in St Ann’s.
But Boxing News reported he has recently been admitted to a mental health hospital, where he continues to receive treatment.
His decline in health was confirmed by the school’s founder, Marcellus Baz, who is organising a skipathon to raise funding to support Graham.
Marcellus, known as Baz, said: “He’s one of our patrons, he’s worked hard to support us and now we need to help him.
“He’s been amazing helping our city and he’s given a lot to our young people. Now he’s in need and we’re all going to get behind him and raise money for him to make sure he has all the support he needs.”
Further details of the planned skipathon and other fundraising events would be announced in the next few days, he added.
I would like to offer my support to Herol, my thoughts are with him at this difficult time, I’ve been there…keep fighting boss 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/kTDObXlEEj
— Frank Bruno MBE (@frankbrunoboxer) January 21, 2018
Graham, 58, has also received support from British heavyweight legend Frank Bruno, who tweeted: “I would like to offer my support to Herol, my thoughts are with him at this difficult time, I’ve been there…keep fighting boss.”
Graham’s current struggle comes as his partner Karen Neville is also battling cancer, and a JustGiving page set up to fund raise for treatment not available on the NHS has already raised £13,000 of a £15,000 target, with donors offering messages of support to the couple.
Speaking to Notts TV last April about his return to health and coaching in Nottingham, Graham said: “If Karen Neville wasn’t around then I wouldn’t be around now, she came up to Sheffield and took me back down to London, she did save me, I owe her a lot.”
People in Sheffield are also offering support, as Graham moved there build his career and trained at the legendary Ingle Gym in the city.