Boxing coach lies in coma

Mick Joyce, of Old Road, Conisbrough, with his boxer dog KO.
Mick Joyce, of Old Road, Conisbrough, with his boxer dog KO.

A community has rallied to support one of its sporting figureheads who was in a coma after collapsing at his partner’s house.

Boxing coach Mick Joyce, whose brother is renowned marathon runner Tommy, is well known around Mexborough, Denaby and Conisbrough for his skills in coaching young boxers.

The 53-year old, of Schofield Street, Mexborough, fell on stone steps leading to his girlfriend’s flat and struck his head.

He has remained unconscious in Rotherham Hospital since the accident.

But his family and friends are encouraged that he has moved from intensive care, and is off a life-supporting ventilator and breathing unaided.

Tommy, along with other family members, has stayed with his brother each day of his ordeal.

Tommy told the Times this week that doctors have no idea when Mick might stir from his coma.

He said: “It’s how long is a piece of string. It could be today, tomorrow, or it could be weeks. No-one seems to know.”

“Mick just collapsed. He had told his girlfriend he didn’t feel well on the phone. But we don’t know why it happened.”

“My phone has been red hot with people asking after him. I get stopped as I walk down the street.

“I’ve been there with him talking about boxing, in case he can hear. Michael was the best trainer there’s ever been round here. He gets through to kids and brings out the best in them. Everyone’s rooting for him.”

Mick’s Facebook site is flooded with wellwishers’ comments.

He coached at Denaby’s Tom Hill gym and at the Empress Rooms, Mexborough, at the Ernie Oxer School of Boxing he began as a memorial to another boxing great.

Among the many postings on the social networking are the following comments:

Gizza Bell said: “Thinking of you Mick. This man was like a dad to me. Almost every time I boxed he used to give me money...treasured memories I will never forget and I love him to bits...cmon m8 you can do this.”

RS Scotty Paul Scott posted: “Kiss kiss bang’s not over till the bell is rang.”

Kyreen Fields added: “We are all here for you, praying for you, thinking of you every minute.”

Sean Sugar-Ray Reynolds: posted “All the best from the lads at Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club.”

Jean Bailey Medlock said: “Sending hugs to all his family”

Mick’s accident happened on the evening of Monday, April 22.