Surviving carjacking tougher than any fight, says former boxer Michael Watson

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Former boxer Michael Watson has told how rebuilding his life after a violent carjacking has been tougher than all his world title fights “put together”.

The 53-year-old, who was partially disabled after suffering a near-fatal brain injury during a fight with Chris Eubank in 1991, was sprayed in the face with acid and dragged along the road as a gang of robbers tried to steal a car.

After three men were found guilty of the attack this week, Mr Watson confessed it was a “miracle” that he was still alive.

In an interview with the Sunday People, he said: “It’s more of a miracle I survived this carjacking than the fact I survived the Chris Eubank fight.

“I’ve been critically ill and had six operations on my head and been through so much trauma… But coming back from this attack has been my hardest fight – tougher than all of my world title fights put together.”

The former world title challenger was a passenger in a Volkswagen Golf when it was shunted from behind and then commandeered by the assailants in Chingford, east London, in February 2017.

He was sprayed with acid then punched and kicked to the ground, before being dragged 500 yards along the road after becoming trapped by the seat belt and the car door as the suspects tried to make a getaway. They eventually abandoned the carjacking.

Mr Watson’s friend and carer Lennard Ballack was also sprayed in the face with the substance, and told the Sunday People he felt like he was “failing” in his job by being unable to protect Mr Watson from the attack.

Mr Watson, who described going into “survival mode” during the incident, said he had suffered from flashbacks and depression since the carjacking, and that it had set him back in his recovery from the Eubank fight.

He could not forgive those responsible, he added, and wanted to see them sent to prison when they are sentenced.

Career robbers Simon Luck, 29, Paul Samuels, 31, and Anselm Legemah, 23, were found guilty of conspiracy to rob and spraying corrosive fluid ammonia on Thursday following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

From left, Anselm Legemah, Paul Samuels and Simon Luck (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Luck was said to have been the driver, while Samuels and Legemah were also present.

Two of the men got out of the car and made their way over to the Audi.

One of the men, believed to be Samuels, then sprayed the driver in the face with noxious liquid. He suffered permanent damage to his eyes, the Met said.

Scotland Yard said Luck and Samuels were found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.

Legemah was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable, or to inflict grievous bodily harm.

The men will be sentenced on Friday.

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