Boxer appeals for net libel action to take place in US

Lewis: bid to block libel action

Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, his promotion company Lion Promotions LLC and his New York attorney Judd Burstein have launched an Appeal Court bid to block a libel action brought against them by boxing promoter Don King or to prevent it taking place in London rather than New York.

The three are challenging a High Court ruling last February in which Mr Justice Eady held that King should be allowed to bring the libel claim against them in England. The claim concerned allegations that they branded King a bigoted anti-semite in comments made by Burstein and published on two boxing websites.

The appeal is the first relating to which country an internet libel action should take place in.

The proceedings follow a near$400m (£220m) damages claim pending in the US launched by Lewis and Lion against King and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson concerning interference with an agreement for a rematch between the fighters.

The libel claims stem from statements made by Burstein about that case, which King claimed were sanctioned by either Lewis or Lion and which appeared on two boxing websites in July 2003.

James Price, QC, counsel for the defendants, claimed the libels sued on were both “published on Californiabased boxing websites directed at predominantly US- based readers” and the “libels were self-evidently responses made by Judd Burstein to an attack made on him published by the claimant in a US-based publication – The New York Post”.

Judgment has been reserved.

By Roger Pearson

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