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McGuigans accused in court of withholding Carl Frampton's earnings

Carl Frampton split with Barry McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions in August 2017. Picture by Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk

EARNINGS due to former world champion boxer Carl Frampton were allegedly withheld during his time with ex-manager and promoter Barry McGuigan, the High Court heard yesterday.

The Belfast fighter claims he wasn't paid properly under an arrangement which "unjustly enriched" Cyclone Promotions.

The boxer has issued a writ in Northern Ireland over an alleged failure to pay sums due in purse monies.

The action is being taken against Barry McGuigan, his wife Sandra McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions (UK) Ltd.

It forms the basis of Mr Frampton's counter-claim to separate legal proceedings brought against him by Cyclone Promotions at the High Court in London.

Mr Frampton, a former two-weight world champion nicknamed 'The Jackal', split with the McGuigan family-run Cyclone Promotions last summer.

In November it emerged that the 30-year-old Tigers Bay-born fighter is facing an action from his former promoters.

Those proceedings centre on an alleged breach of contract.

At the time Mr Frampton's lawyers pledged to defend the action and counter-claim on a number of grounds.

A lawsuit has now been brought by the boxer against Barry and Sanda McGuigan, as directors in the now dissolved Cyclone Promotions (UK) Ltd, and another company set up in the same name.

The writ refers to contracts for bouts in Northern Ireland, England and the United States.

But a preliminary hearing is underway to decide the proper jurisdiction for Mr Frampton's action.

Counsel for the McGuigans and Cyclone Promotions argued that the case should be heard at the High Court in London.

Liam McCollum QC insisted it was the only forum for deciding complaints of mismanagement and alleged unjust enrichment.

But Gavin Millar QC, for Mr Frampton, disputed points raised on the issue of domicile.

Mr McGuigan was famed as an "Irish/Northern Irish" boxer during his own world championship-winning career who, according to a press interview, still returns to the region up to four times a year, the court heard.

He became Mr Frampton's manager after coming to Belfast to sign him in 2009.

But Mr Justice Horner was told the boxer would have decided differently if he'd known Mr McGuigan and his wife had been banned from being company directors for five years after a previous venture was wound-up with debts of £80,000 back in 1996.

The court heard Mr McGuigan was always keen to build a fan base for Mr Frampton in Belfast and promote both of their links to Northern Ireland.

The boxer's parents were said to have sold a large number of tickets to their sons fights after the management arrangement was signed.

Referring to Mr Frampton's father, Mr Millar said: "He paid large amounts of ticket money in cash into Barry McGuigan's bank account in Belfast.

"There's a dispute between him (Mr Frampton Sr) and Mrs McGuigan - he thought possibly up to £1m in cash over that period, she says £220,000.

"But it's a lot of cash being collected from fights from people in Belfast."

Setting out details of his client's case, Mr Millar said there had been an alleged "failure to secure him due and proper reward".

It is further claimed that Mr Frampton's former management company had a conflict of interests and "withheld money due to him".

The hearing continues.

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