By Terence Dooley
Andy Ayling, head of Double A Promotions and a long-time association of Frank Warren, spoke to BoxingScene earlier today to clarify some of the points in our story about the split between Warren and former charge Tony Bellew. The Liverpudlian light-heavyweight determined his managerial contract with Warren in May, the decision was rubberstamped during a Board hearing in August and upheld after Tuesday’s round of appeals, as exclusively revealed by this site late last night.
Ayling, though, pointed out that the Board’s most recent judgment did not mention Bellew’s promotional agreement with Warren, which the veteran promoter still views as binding. Indeed, the future of the promotional deal itself will lead to further action as Warren intends to hold the 175lb contender to the terms of this promotional contract.
“Tony still has an exclusive promotional agreement with Frank Warren Promotions, that is being enforced and is the subject of further action,” said Ayling during a telephone call on Saturday morning. “Papers have been served on him and the directors of Matchroom, Eddie and Barry Hearn, for breach of that contract, so it is an ongoing thing. The two agreements are completely separate issues, under a separate jurisdiction, if you like, and that’s a fact. Every time he fights for Matchroom, Bellew is breaching it (the promotional deal) further.
“Regarding the appeal, we appealed against the decision and Tony Bellew appealed as well — although he should haven’t been allowed to because he put his appeal in too late — and the two factors he appealed about he was found to be incorrect about. He claimed he was forced to sign the addendum (to his contract) under duress and came up with witnesses who said, and these are his words, that he was forced to sign it “minutes before” the weigh-in for the Cleverly fight even though it was proven that he signed the document over a month before. So he was proved to lie and his witnesses were proven to lie in that.
“He also claimed that (matchmaker) Dean Powell, acting under the instructions of Frank Warren, encouraged him to go into a sauna to try and lose a ridiculous amount of weight (on May 19 in order to secure a last-minute meeting with Nathan Cleverly for the WBO light-heavyweight title). Again, he was proved to have lied. His appeal was thrown out.”
Indeed, and as stated in last night’s article, the issue of the managerial license rested on Bellew’s former Commonwealth title, which was relinquished on his behalf by Dean Powell, who stated that he advised Bellew that he would have to give up the belt to fight for the world title after mistakenly applying the rules of the EBU, specifically 18.1, which states that European title-holders must vacate their belts before fighting for world titles.
The above does not apply to the Commonwealth belt as their rule 2.11 reads that: ‘In the event of a Commonwealth Champion winning a World Championship the Board shall automatically declare vacant the Championship in the relevant weight category, whether or not the World Championship is recognised by the Board or any Controlling Body’.
Basically, Powell made an error and admitted to this before the Board, who took no further action against the matchmaker. “The only thing he won it (the appeal) on was that Dean Powell, who admitted he made an error, told him that if he fought for a world title he’d have to relinquish his Commonwealth title, which was mistake,” said Ayling.
“Dean made a statement saying he got confused over the rules and forgot that one only related to the European title. Dean made a mistake and he held his hands up, simple as that. The appeal stewards, in their wisdom, said that as Dean was employed by Frank, he should have acted in the interest of the boxer and not allowed him to do that. That is the breach of the agreement under the letter of the law, but what they didn’t do is cross-reference the promotional agreement, they just dealt with the managerial one, so Tony is far from out of the woods at the moment because there is a more serious case going on with regards to the promotional agreement.”
Ayling, though, pointed out that Warren disagreed with my claim that the boxer employs the manager. He pointed out that the Boxer/Manager Agreement is mutually binding and is not the same as an employer-employee relationship.
“There’s something that Frank did say this morning — a manager is not employed by a boxer, the agreement is one between two parties who have an obligation to each other,” he said. “One is not the boss of the other. It is an agreement, not an employment contract. Tony Bellew has not paid a management fee to Frank Warren under the three managerial contracts he has had with him since turning professional. It is only when Tony fought on another promoters show (a win over Danny McIntosh on a Coldwell Promotions bill on April 27), by way of a purse bid, that he had to pay a management commission — he was ordered by the Board to pay that management commission and didn’t.
“It was only when the Board order him to pay it that he paid it. Then he sent a check through late and it hadn’t been signed. He was supposed to pay Frank within 28-days and to this day it still hasn’t been received, this is from a fight that happened in April. So Tony is going on about being paid late (on Twitter and boxing forums) when, again, he hasn’t been proved to be paid late for any fight and he hasn’t paid his manager.”
Ayling, then, believes that this week’s appeal process vindicated Warren’s point on a number of issues and although Bellew, 18-1 (12), has walked away from his managerial contract the 29-year-old has not had his last round with his former handler just yet.
“The fact of the matter is that he laid two charges against us [Writer’s note: namely the sauna incident and that Bellew was forced to sign an addendum under duress] that turned out to be lies,” stated Ayling. “I’m not saying that anything in the piece is factually wrong, it isn’t, but it didn’t give both sides of the story and that his two points were thrown out by the Stewards, so he lost on two and we lost on one.”
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