Channel 4’s Matt Frei has caused uproar in the boxing community with a line of questioning bereft of a highly positioned and respected British journalist.
During an interview with Chris Eubank Jr and Sr on Tuesday, Frei was posing questions on the recent fight with Nick Blackwell who sadly was placed into a coma when defeated in ten rounds at Wembley’s SSE Arena.
Blackwell collapsed in the ring immediately after the fight in a harrowingly similar tragedy as to when Eubank Sr himself defeated Michael Watson back in 1991. At that time, there were was no ringside oxygen available and it took over an hour for Watson to receive the correct treatment leaving him permanently damaged from the contest.
Signs are seemingly better for 25 year-old, according to numerous reports, although there has been nothing official from the family and the subject is still an exceptionally sore one with everyone involved in the sport.
Frei had opened up the interview fine but then began talking about ‘chivalry only being alive in boxing to a point’ when Eubank was trying to explain that he didn’t target Blackwell’s head on purpose at the request of his father, as he knew the Trowbridge man was badly hurt.
Chancing his arm again, Frei then asked if, ‘Senior was sending mixed messages’ to his son, to which the elder Eubank replied rightfully: “Your line of questioning isn’t conducive to a good interview.”
Turning his attention to the Watson fight, Frei wasn’t done there and amazingly asked Eubank Sr what he regretted about that night the most. Then, instead of trying to end the answer session in a good manner, Frei uttered one of the most shocking questions any reporter could ask of a fighter.
“If you had the choice of having Nick Blackwell in perfect health, and he didn’t have to have an induced coma, or holding on to your belt – which would it be?”
Highly regrettable words from a journalist clearly seeking a reaction and frankly by someone who should either know better or not be allowed to interview boxers past or present.
To their great credit, the Eubank’s handled it immaculately as Junior stated: “That’s not a fair question’ and ‘I’m not going to answer that. I don’t wish harm on anybody and I wish Nick Blackwell a full recovery.”
Hopefully, Channel 4 will be gracious enough to issue some sort of statement on Frei’s behaviour, although I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen anytime soon.