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 Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 00:32 GMT
Tapia leaves hospital
Johnny Tapia, former world champion boxer
Tapia was beaten by Barrera in November
Former world champion Johnny Tapia was sent home from a Las Vegas hospital on Monday, two days after collapsing unconscious at home with a head injury.

Dr. Joaquim Tavares said in a statement that tests found no damage to Tapia's brain or heart and concluded that there was no medical reason Tapia cannot fight again.

The boxer had been put on partial life support when he arrived at University Medical Center in critical condition early Saturday.

Unable to breathe on his own, doctors placed him on a respirator and were treating him for what they believe to be head trauma.

Earlier, Tapia had been charged by police of felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

When he arrived home from Friday's incident in Arizona, Teresa Tapia thought her husband to be depressed but otherwise healthy.

But at 1205 local time (2005 GMT) on Saturday, Teresa called 911 after Johnny fell backward and lapsed into unconsciousness.

He has not regained consciousness and remains in intensive care.

Detectives went to the Arizona home of the five-time champion fighter on Friday after a tip that Raymond Whiting, a relative of Tapia, was there.

Whiting was wanted on a warrant for failure to appear on aggravated assault and weapons charges in New Mexico.

Tapia, Whiting and a third man, Walter Joseph Michael Beck, refused to exit the home for about an hour.

Deputies then forced open a door and succeeded in getting them to surrender.

"He was very cooperative with the detectives," said Jarrod Lyman, spokesman for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, about Tapia.

Whiting was taken into custody while Beck was arrested on a cocaine possession charge.

In 1992, Tapia was arrested on charges that he intimidated a witness to a murder committed by Whiting.

Whiting pleaded guilty to that killing, Tapia was acquitted of the intimidation charge.

In July 1994, Tapia was charged with attempting to sell imitation crack cocaine to an off-duty police officer - he was acquitted.

Tapia's last fight was on 2 November, when he lost a unanimous decision to Marco Antonio Barrera.

He hopes to fight again in the spring.

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