Express man's Frank Warren libel costs Random House £2m

Boxing promoter Frank Warren accepted £115,000 libel damages today over allegations which appeared in the autobiography of light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton written in association with the Daily Express boxing journalist, Niall Hickman..

Warren was not at London’s High Court for the settlement of his action against publisher Random House Group Ltd.

His solicitor-advocate, Hanna Basha, told Mr Justice Eady that Warren had no option but to bring proceedings over the book – Ricky Hatton: The Hitman, My Story – which was withdrawn from sale in March last year.

Warren will also receive his costs, which Ms Basha, outside court, estimated at about £2 million.

She said that he was happy with the settlement of the action, which had been due to come to trial on December 1.

Basha told the judge that Warren, who promoted Hatton between 1997 and 2004, had asked to see a draft of the book before it was published, but that his request was refused.

As soon as it appeared, he asked his solicitors to write to Random House telling the publisher that passages were false and defamatory and asking for them to be withdrawn.

Random House neither withdrew the book from sale nor corrected the passages, so the false allegations were widely circulated.

After the book was withdrawn, the libel proceedings were defended vigorously and only settled with the trial looming.

Basha said that of the three allegations at the centre of the action, the first arose from events which occurred just before Vince Phillips’ fight with Hatton, and had already been the subject of a statement in court in October last year.

The second was the false allegation that Mr Warren pressured Hatton into competing against Carlos Vilches despite knowing that he was not fit.

“In fact, this is false. Frank Warren finds this allegation all the more hurtful given the lengths to which he goes to safeguard the health and welfare of the boxers he promotes,” she said.

The third false allegation was that Mr Warren lied to the readers of the News of the World by telling them that Hatton made GBP6 million while under his management – Hatton stated in the book that he earned “nowhere near GBP6 million”.

Basha said Warren had paid Hatton more than £6 million gross, and the figures and schedules of payment proving this were sent to Random House in October 2006.

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