Boxing promoter Warren wins libel case against Express journalist

Boxing promoter Frank Warren has accepted substantial libel damages from the publisher Random House over allegations published in a Ricky Hatton autobiography ghost written by Daily Express boxing journalist Niall Hickman.

Random House has agreed to pay Warren £115,000 in damages and his legal costs over three allegations made in the book ‘Ricky Hatton: The Hitman My Story”.

Warren made his initial complaint over allegations in the book in October 2006. A trial date was set for 1 December this year, but Random House offered a settlement of £115,000 plus legal costs which Warren accepted.

The first defamatory allegation in the book was that Warren, who promoted Hatton between 1997 and 2004, lied to boxer Vince Phillips about the sale of US television rights in order to con him into accepting a low fee to fight Hatton.

The book, which was pulped in 2007, also claimed that Warren pressurised Hatton into fighting against Carlos Vilches despite Hatton being in ill health.

The final allegation was that Warren lied to the News of the World, telling the newspaper that Hatton made £6 million under his management.

Hatton claims in the book he made ‘nowhere near £6 million”, but figures and schedules of payment proving that Warren paid Hatton over £6 million were sent to Random House in October 2006, according to Warren’s solicitors Carter Ruck.

Warren said: ‘It has taken me two years to get justice and an acknowledgement that these baseless allegations were completely false. However, even though the book was pulped in 2007, the publisher has aggressively sought to defend these hurtful and distressing allegations about me and dragged me through many weeks of court hearings, all to no avail, before backing down in advance of the trial that was due to comment on 1 December this year.

‘The legal fight has cost Random House millions in legal fees and damages. I am completely mystified by their behaviour and why they did not accept my offer, before the book was published, to check the accuracy of their allegations.”

This is not the first libel scrap that Warren has been involved in.

In October 2007 Warren accepted £30,000 compensation from the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail over a claim that he fixed the outcome of a featherweight title clash.

In an interview with Press Gazette in 2006, Warren said he had won 39 out of the 40 libel cases he had been involved with up to that date, only losing out in one case due to a technicality.

Warren explained to Press Gazette why he’d been to court so many times.

‘When you are a kid where I come from, if somebody upset you, you’d have a bloody row about it. You’d have a fight, sort it out. Now, you can’t do that in business, can you? You are left with putting the record straight through the law, so I’ve sued a few people.

‘For me, it’s never been about seeking damages, but as a way to redress the balance if something has been wrong, and get an apology. I had a front-page apology once, but normally they are only three or four lines hidden somewhere, which ain’t always great. But what’s important is that it’s printed and people see it – especially other journalists.”

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