Carl Frampton backs media boycott

FORMER boxing world champion Carl Frampton has backed a move by his management withdrawing from the Republic of Ireland and calling for a boycott of media in the south.

Sandra Vaughan, CEO of MTK Global appeared in a video on Twitter to call for a "full boycott of media with immediate effect"

Frampton tweeted a message of support to his more than 400,000 followers.

Ms Vaughan accused the media in the Republic of "vilifying" boxers like Belfast Olympian Paddy Barnes and team mate Michael Conlan in a "witch-hunt".

MTK was co-founded by former middleweight fighter Matthew Macklin and gangland figure Daniel Kinahan in 2013.

The business announced it had "cut all ties" with Kinahan in February 2017, and Ms Vaughan took over in October 2017, with Mr Macklin remaining on the board.

However, she claims the gym and its 29 Irish boxers continue to be unfairly associated with criminal gangland activity.

The alleged links date back to February 2016, when a weigh-in at Dublin's Regency Hotel before a MTK event saw gunmen dressed as gardai and a woman open fire, killing 33-year-old David Byrne.

Ms Vaughan said "the minute (Olympic national heroes) turned professional, the Irish media turned their backs on them and instead have taken money out of their pockets by vilifying them".

The final straw for the company appears to have been the cancellation of a boxing event at the City West Hotel being run by SK Promotions, which was due to feature 5 MTK Global signed boxers, on Saturday February 3.

Ms Vaughan said its legal team will be issuing letters "to a number of Irish media houses".

She said the company's withdrawal from the Irish market will see "a direct and negative impact on the Irish economy", but will affect the boxers on its roster more.

"If they are not fighting on home turf then they will be unable to sell the same volume of tickets, thus drastically impacting their earning potential."

Séamus Dooley of the National Union of Journalists said the company is "entitled to withdraw from Ireland", but added: "MTK Global is a significant agency and has played a significant role in Irish boxing.

"Media scrutiny of the company is therefore legitimate and Irish journalists will not be intimidated by threats of legal action or boycotts."

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