It’s been nearly a dozen weeks since Adonis Stevenson suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, but every day he’s still working towards a full recovery.
On December 1, Stevenson got knocked out by Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada in a fight for the WBC light heavyweight title. Stevenson lost his title, but nearly lost his life. What ensued was a long road to recovery, one that Stevenson is still on and will remain for many months, perhaps years.
But near his side throughout his rehabilitation is his girlfriend Sisi God, who has been doing nothing but support him through his rehabilitation and take care of their newborn child, who was born last October.
According to God, who spoke to Fightful via phone interview, she is still processing everything that has happened, but one thing that she does know is that the former world champion is progressing every day. For that, she is grateful.
“It’s really difficult to say in terms of what it’s going to be for the future and the doctors told us to take it day-by-day and he was adamant about that. His condition every day definitely has been progressing on another level. Every day there’s been a great achievement and improvement in terms of his mobility and his condition so I’m happy about that,” God said.
It has been nearly three months since Stevenson got hurt. When he was sent to a hospital after the fight, doctors initially said he was brain dead and was later put on a coma. At one point, the doctors described the odds of him surviving as 50-50 and when he was in a coma, even if he were to wake up, God was warned that the man he once was might not be the man that wakes up from his coma.
Since then, Stevenson has been able to not only wake up from his coma, but also manage to say a few words here and there and even take his first steps. The progress can be described as incredible, perhaps unbelievable, but God knew he would keep on fighting towards completing his rehabilitation.
“Yeah actually, but with these injuries, you have to be patient. On minimum, it takes a year to three. Every person is different but since he has such a healthy lifestyle, the doctors said he’s going to get better. I knew that he was going to make a full recovery. I never felt that he wouldn’t. I don’t know, maybe something in my heart was telling me that. Doctors tell me it’s beyond medicine to explain his situation and where he’s at today. I think that since he’s beaten the odds, I think he will make a full recovery. He’s doing super well as it is and now that he’s home, it’s different and I feel better for him and believe things will go back to as they were,” God said.
Even just listening to her voice on the other side of the phone line, one can feel the weight of her words. She remains hopeful that Stevenson will make a full recovery, but in the meantime, every day remains a struggle for the two of them in different ways. She is exhausted, but knows that she has to keep going in order for the father of her newborn child to get better.
That kind of love and support family is what is helping Stevenson's recovery, to know that there are loved ones by your side as he is going through the biggest battle of his life is something that can't be replaced.
“To be honest, I had to put aside what I was doing, my passion. I didn’t have the passion to do design anymore. My main focus is on Adonis and him getting better because I was so affected by it. Having a newborn baby, the shock, the unknown and not knowing what’s going to happen. Every day, I was going to the hospital, running back from the hospital to see my newborn. My family came by my side and I had some help with the baby. It is very difficult because three times a day I’m at the hospital because I can’t stay there the whole day. I was going back and forth from the hospital to the hotel,” God said.
Going back that evening on December 1, 2018, God was sitting at ringside watching her boyfriend fight Gvozdyk for the 175-pound title. Stevenson was leading on the scorecards after 10 rounds, but then Gvozdyk rallied in the 11th round and knocked out the long-time world champion. Stevenson was out cold. It was a hard knockout for certain, but nothing out of the ordinary that would lead someone to think that Stevenson's life would be in immediate danger.
“I knew all of a sudden that he was hurt so I ran into the ring, right to his side. Everyone was yelling at me, ‘Why did you touch him? He can get disqualified when he could get back up.’ I ran towards him because automatically, the adrenaline made my body run towards him to see if he’s okay. Then when I went to go see him, everyone started to surround him, everybody tried to help him up and he did get back up," God said.
When the boxer and his team went back to the locker room, Stevenson told his girlfriend that his head hurt and that he wanted his doctor from his current town to come in and check on him. According to God, he wouldn’t have suggested something like that if he knew it wasn’t severe.
"We went back to the locker room, I always kept an eye on Adonis because I felt that he was still hurt. He didn’t want to show it but he was hurt. While we were in the locker room, I was the first person that he told that his head hurts and he was dizzy. I had the feeling that he was hurt, but not to that extent, that it could have cost him his life,” God said.
At 41 years old, athletes are usually either retired or at the end of their careers, but heading into the fight, Stevenson was still considered as one of the top light heavyweight boxers in the world. But now that he lost his title and is working towards a full recovery, one would assume that Stevenson’s days as a boxer are done. If you ask God, however, she’ll tell you a different answer.
“To be honest with you, I want him to be able to say that himself. I do feel that he is going to make a full recovery. I really don’t doubt that at all. When it comes to boxing, it’s been a part of him for such a long time and so I don’t want to say his boxing days are over because I don’t think so necessarily. Adonis is definitely a strong man, he’s a champion,” God said.
In these last couple of months full of travel, sleepless nights and hospital visits, God has learned a lot. Thanks to the support of the entire boxing community, the doctors and her family, God had only one message to say: love is never something to be taken for granted.
“Definitely this has been a learning lesson for me and Adonis. For me, it’s taught me patience and to take things day-by-day because you never know what can happen. I also learned to be grateful for life. Love is very important and it’s important to have each other, have family and their support. Help is not something to be taken for granted," God said.
The full interview between Fightful and God can be seen in the video at the top of the page.