A champion boxer is in a coma and critical condition after being mauled by a brown bear on the bank of Russia’s Irtysh River during a fishing trip. However, local media reports say that the fighter, IIlya Medvedev, 23, managed to kill the bear with several gunshots and a knife.
According to Russian news outlets, Medvedev was returning to camp through a stretch of forest in the Tyumen Region of Western Siberia when the brown bear emerged, killing his fishing companion, 48-year-old Vyacheslav “Slava” Dudnik, before setting its sights on him.
According to multiple news articles, after Dudnik went down, the bear charged Medvedev, who was able to fire four rounds at the animal before losing control of his gun. With the bear on top of him, the professional boxer reportedly managed to produce a knife and stab the animal repeatedly until it was subdued.
Meanwhile, a third member of the angling group, 41-year-old Denis Chebotar, was tying their small boat to the riverbank when he heard screams coming from the forest. He rushed to the scene of the attack where he found Dudnik dead then came upon the severely-mauled Medvedev just as he killed the bear.
With the bear down and Medvedev alive but incapacitated, Chebotar hauled his friend into the small boat and the two took off in the direction of the nearest settlement. From there he was transported to a hospital where he remains in the intensive care unit.
According to Medvedev’s trainer, Dmitry Kosenko, the athlete is expected to recover.
“After the bear attack, Ilya is in an artificial coma. According to the doctors, nothing threatens his life yet,” Kosenko told a Russian media outlet. “But you understand what kind of injuries there can be after a bear attack. And Ilya will have a very long rehabilitation. They will inform us about the details. Everything turned out spontaneously—and, indeed, Ilya stabbed the bear with a knife."
In 2019, Medvedev won the Russian Armed Forces Boxing Championship in the 64 kg. weight class and has competed in other national events. The International Boxing Association promised to cover his medical expenses.
Russia is home to nine subspecies of brown bear, including Eurasian, Siberian, and the Kamchatkan brown bear. Most common to the Tyuman region, where Medvedev and Dudnik were attacked, is the Eurasion strain—similar in size to the American grizzly.
Feature image via East 2 West News