The thoughts of the boxing community are with a Sheffield-trained fighter as he recovers in hospital from an operation.
Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, regarded by many as one of the best boxers never to win a world title, has been seriously ill in a London hospital for about a fortnight.
Those close to the 57-year-old former middleweight say he was admitted for a burst appendix but suffered complications.
Herol was trained at Brendan Ingle’s famous Sheffield gym, and at his peak was one of the most highly-rated boxers in the world.
His friend and fellow boxer Colin ‘Sweet C’ McMillan has visited Herol in hospital.
“Apparently I got him on his best day so far,” he said. “Apparently the next 36 hours are going to be crucial. It’s a difficult time for Herol and his wife Karen at the moment.”
Colin got to know Herol when came to train at the same Sheffield gym.
“At the time he was flying high,” he said. “We sparred together and we kept in contact.”
Colin said his friend was a ‘lovely’ guy, adding: “He’s really genuine. He’s always smiling and joking.
“He’s got a lot of friends in the boxing community. He’s a fighter so hopefully we will get some good news.
“Everyone is just hoping and praying that he can make a full recovery.”
Herol was born in Nottingham before moving to Sheffield in his teens. He turned professional in 1978 and won his first professional fight that same year.
Fifteen fights later, in 1981, he won the British Light Middleweight Title, adding the Commonwealth Light Middleweight Title that same year.
Herol’s next honour came in 1983, when he knocked Clemente Tshinza out to claim the vacant European Light Middleweight Title.
Continued success got him to the number two ranking in the world. He moved up to middleweight in 1985, winning the British Middleweight Title and the European Middleweight Title soon after.
He had two unsuccessful world title fights, losing the first on points against Mike McCallum and the second by knockout to Julian Jackson.
Herol retired from the ring in 1998. He now lives in London, where he trains young boxers and runs fitness classes.
Posting on Facebook, former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno, who has also visited Herol in hospital, said: “Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham is a good friend, he’s someone I grew up meeting lots of times on my boxing journey.
“We haven’t seen each other much in the last couple of years and Herol is currently in hospital quite poorly, can we all show our support and wish him all the best at this time and a speedy recovery.”