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Grand Forks boxer in critical condition after Saturday fight

GRAND FORKS - A Grand Forks boxer is in critical condition at Altru Hospital after collapsing during a boxing card Saturday.

J.J. Moen suffered a severe brain injury, according to his uncle, Mike Sweeney, and, as of Monday morning, hadn't regained consciousness. The 29-year-old Moen is in the surgical critical care unit.

"The doctors told us that, on a scale of three to 15 with three being the worst, he's at a three,'' Sweeney said. "We're just praying for the best. He's a true, true good-hearted young man.''

Forks Fighters boxing club coach Eddie Obregon said Moen, who is a member of Forks Fighters, collapsed after the first of a scheduled three-round super heavyweight bout at the East Grand Forks American Legion Club.

"It wasn't a big, devastating hit that knocked him down,'' Obregon said. "It was regular boxing. He finished the first round, went to his corner to sit down and he seemed to have a seizure. He slumped down on his stool and we had him down on the mat right away. The ring-side doctor attended to him right away.

"His headgear was on during the fight. His gloves were on. He'd passed his physical. Everything was done right.''

Sweeney said Moen did take one blow to the head during that match that seemed to stagger him, but he continued and finished the round.

As recently as Feb. 9, Moen, a veteran boxer, had fought in a bout in Fargo.

"The doctors told us that a lot of the problem appears to come from a previous injury he'd had, possible (previous) concussions,'' Sweeney said. "That's what led to this horrible thing. That was all new to us. Otherwise, if we had known that, he wouldn't have been in the ring.''

Obregon said this is the first such incident he can recall locally. "I've been around boxing for 47 years and we've never had something like this happen before,'' he said.