Abdusalamov expected to live

Comatose heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov's condition is improving, leading doctors to say he will live.

Nathan Lewkowicz, vice president of Sampson Boxing, Abdusalamov's promoter, told ESPN.com of Abdusalamov's condition Thursday.

"A week ago, the doctors thought he was not going to make it, that he would not survive. They said they were 100 percent sure he would not make it," Lewkowicz said. "Now they think it has turned around. They say he is going to make it now. They have seen progress with his motor skills from the tests they have been doing.

"The words out of their mouth after the surgery were, 'We don't think he's going to make it.' They said that to the family. Now, based on how he's progressed in these different tests, they changed their view. From what the doctor is saying the brain swelling has subsided."

The 32-year-old Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KOs), a married father of three young daughters, has been in a medically induced coma at Roosevelt Hospital in New York since having brain surgery to remove a blood clot that formed during a 10-round decision loss to Mike Perez in a vicious, HBO-televised fight Nov. 2 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

He was placed into a medically induced coma to give the brain swelling time to subside, but he was also on life support machines.

Lewkowicz said doctors plan to bring Abdusalamov out of the coma in the next few days.

"They think they will try to wake him up in two or three days and see how he reacts," Lewkowicz said. "We don't know if his speech will be slurred or if he will be blind, which are major possibilities. The stroke could hinder some of his motor skills. He might not be able to speak well. He might be blind. The best we hope for is that he can lead a normal life."

Not long after the brain surgery, Abdusalamov suffered a stroke while in the coma and his temperature rose to 104 degrees, and doctors do not know what damage was done. However, Lewkowicz said Abdusalamov showed unexpected signs of improvement in recent days.

"They did a test by pinching his arm and he was smacking the doctor's hand away, showing his motor skills are coming back. They weren't expecting that," Lewkowicz said. "It's amazing progress. It's good news. He's still young, only 32, and was in good health before what happened. So that is very helpful."

Besides the brain bleed, Abdusalamov suffered superficial injuries during the fight, including a broken nose, broken hand, cuts and bruises. He appeared to be OK after leaving the ring and was going to go to the hospital to have the injuries checked out. Then he began to feel sick and complained of a headache before vomiting. When he arrived at the hospital, he had a CT scan, which revealed the blood clot, and he was rushed into surgery.