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Verdict given on dead boxer

A VERDICT of misadventure was returned yesterday on the boxer Bradley Stone, who died after a championship fight was stopped.

The inquest at St Pancras coroner's court, London, was told the 23-year-old boxer suffered an unusual arterial brain haemorrhage, resulting in severe brain damage. Hours before the haemorrhage Stone had been fighting for the British Super-bantamweight championship against Richie Wenton in Bethnal Green, east London. He died two days later.

Despite the death, doctors told the coroner that boxing was one of Britain's safest sports.

Dr John Sutcliffe, a consultant neuro-surgeon, said Stone was showing signs of severe brain damage when he arrived at the Royal London Hospital two hours after the match. He said the ringside doctor would not have been able to diagnose the injury.

John Morris, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, said that Dr Sutcliffe and a committee of experts formed after Stone's death would present a report next month on ways to make boxing safer. Dr Sutcliffe said the recommendations could include making boxers stay in hospital for 8 to 24 hours after matches in which fights were stopped or boxers knocked out.

Before the hearing began a reporter from the Daily Telegraph was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by the father of Bradley Stone's girlfriend, Frederick Lawrence. The reporter, David Millward, had allegedly been overheard making a joke about Stone's absence.

The editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, Max Hastings, last night offered his apologies to the family of Bradley Stone over alleged 'insensitive remarks'. Mr Hastings said he had launched an inquiry into the incident.