The widow of tragic boxer Maxim ‘Mad Max’ Dadashev has told how their three year old son is traumatised after seeing his father on his death bed in hospital ‘to say goodbye’.
Elizaveta Apushkina, 28, revealed that their son Daniel, who was two at the time, held his father’s hand and pleaded: ‘Dad, open your eyes, please. I’ve come to see you.
‘Wake up, daddy. Please get up.’
The fighter, 28, is feared to have suffered a fatal stroke in the ring as he was pummelled with punches.
Dadashev collapsed soon after the bout in America and during an emergency operation the right side of his skull was removed to ease pressure from brain swelling in a last-ditch but futile attempt to save him.
The boxer’s body was flown home to Russia and he was buried this week in a Muslim ceremony near St Petersburg.
Now in an emotional interview his wife admits that Daniel should not have seen his ailing father in such a state.
‘Our son said goodbye to him [Maxim] in the hospital,’ she told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
‘I could not help but let him say farewell.
‘Perhaps this was wrong, because my child should not have seen this.
‘Maxim lay all in wires, in drips. There were 30 or 40 drips.
‘The whole room was filled with pipes, apparatus, and cylinders.
‘And our child saw it all. It was very hard for him.’
The widow said: ‘I told him that dad is sick. Then, after two nights, my son woke up, and began to call his dad.’
The child was having nightmares, she said. ‘Now we need psychologists.’
Despite seeing the boxer on his death bed, she admitted she cannot tell her son he will never see his father again.
‘He still does not know that Maxim is dead,’ she said.
‘And this morning, when I took him to nursery school, he said: ‘Will we fly to dad in America?’ I replied: ‘Dad is ill’. He asked: ‘Dad will recover, and we will fly?’
‘I said: ‘Yes, we will fly.’
‘I don’t know how to tell him. I cannot gather enough courage.
‘How can I tell this to a (nearly) three-year-old child so as not to break his psyche?
‘My stepfather promised to help raise him. Yesterday I drove him to the zoo, and tried to distract the child.
‘But even at the zoo, he kept asking about dad.’
Elizaveta revealed that she had watched the fight against Puerto Rican Subriel Matias but did not realise her husband was critically injured.
‘Immediately, when I saw that he was being taken out of the ring, I called him. Then I wrote a message.
‘I did not think that everything was so serious. I thought it was hard for him morally.
‘I wrote that even the greatest lose, do not be discouraged. I did not know that he would never read this message.
‘And his manager told me that everything was fine, he was just on a routine inspection. I calmed down.’
Soon it was clear he was grievously wounded with severe brain damage and she flew to America.
‘The doctor immediately told me that there was no chance that my husband would survive, not a single one at all,’ she said.
‘My world just collapsed. I wanted to believe in a miracle.
‘But by all indications, according to the doctors, Maxim’s brain died from injuries.’
The swelling from successive punches ‘was so big that it was just horrible’.
The doctors told her the fighter ‘had a cerebral infraction and two strokes, but when exactly, it is unrealistic to say. But some of this was during the fight.
‘This doctor told me: ‘If there is a superman in the world, then this is your husband. Such pain is impossible to survive. People faint right away. And he stood and tried to fight’.
‘It’s horrible. All the coaches, meanwhile, said that from round four Max did not hold his balance.
‘Most likely, something happened in round four.
‘He has such a character, the heart of a lion. A lion is an animal that will fight to the end. The lion will never back down. Max was like that. A true champion will never take a step back.
‘This means a boxer should not be asked whether we will continue the fight or not.
‘None of them will say – that’s it, we’re done. The coach must stop himself.
‘The coach or judge, the doctors had to stop the fight in the fourth of fifth round.’
It went to 11 rounds before Dadashev’s team threw in the towel.
She said: ‘An investigation will be conducted now, I am not drawing conclusions.
‘But someone is to blame for sure. He could have been saved unambiguously if the battle had been stopped earlier.
‘I have not filed a lawsuit yet. I am waiting for the results of the investigation, which will show who is guilty.
‘So far I can judge only subjectively. The results of the forensic analysis will be only in 21 days.’
She told how the fighter had gone to America to resume his boxing career and earn money for his family.
‘We wanted to save money. I moved to Russia with the child,’ she said.
‘He had important fights. We did not want to distract him.’
The last time they saw him was in March when they had a three week holiday in Hawaii.
‘We rented apartments there to save money,’ she said. ‘We walked, dreamed about everything’.
‘I just don’t believe this happened. I wake up in the morning in the hope that it was a nightmare. My brain does not want to and does not accept it .’
He had bought a toy for his son – a dog from Paw Patrol – to give to him after the fight.
They were planning to live together again in Los Angeles later this year.
She told how Daniel was the image of his father. ‘Daniel watched a video with his dad.
‘He really loved how Max knocked out a man in the ring.
‘This video my son loves the most – ‘Where daddy knocks down a man’.
‘All the teachers told us that our son always says to them: ‘Dad will knock down a man, and we will fly to him in America’.
‘He was waiting for us to fly. My son is very proud of his father.
‘They even have similar characters. Actions, smiles… they are a copy, only with my eyes and hair.’
source: Daily Mail