JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- A Tri-Cities boxer is in a Nashville hospital after taking part in a match last week. Roy King, Jr. slipped into a coma right after fighting in the Fights at the Fairgrounds competition.
The athletes and trainers at Tri-Cities Boxing and Fitness which King owns and operates are fighting a different kind of match- trying to move on without their lead coach.
“We’re going to need community support in order to keep these doors open,” said President Justin Cornett. “A gym like this, especially a gym that’s not making money that’s here just for the kids is quite expensive.”
King had just finished boxing in a round when he slumped over.
“He was essentially in a coma form in the ring and it was not that tough of a fight,” said King’s trainer, Mark Laws.
He was rushed to Vanderbilt Medical Center and has been in a coma ever since unable to return home to the Tri-Cities or his gym where kids come to learn how to box and stay off the streets.
“These kids, they don’t have nowhere else to go after this,” says Cornett. “My biggest fear is- these doors shut, these kids don’t have nowhere to go and they end up getting in trouble and doing other things outside of school.”
Cornett says King’s gym provides stability and opportunity…sometimes paying for the boxers to travel to fights out of town.
“I didn’t really have the correct father figure growing up and so when he met me, I met him- it was just something very special to me,” said boxer, Quinn Flanagin and ETSU student from Nashville. “He always pushes me to become a better boxer and just a better person altogether.”
Those who train with King say this past week has been a match they weren’t prepared for.
“The gym hasn’t really been the same. People aren’t really feeling it,” said 10-year-old Trenton Cornett who has been training with King since he was five.
Exactly what caused King to slip into a coma isn’t clear. Laws told News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel that King did open his eyes on Thursday. He is in critical but stable condition.