Ryabinskiy: Don King Lawsuit About Principles, Not Money

By Alexey Sukachev

During a little break between speeches of Rakhim Chakhkiev and Alexander Povetkin, following their victorious performances on Friday night, May 30, caught up with powerful Russian promoter and head of one of the most well-known Russian development companies GC “MIC”, Andrey Ryabinskiy, to learn more about his lawsuit against Don King, which was registered with the Manhattan Federal Court last Wednesday.

BoxingScene: Can you please explain the basis and the subject for the filed lawsuit?

Ryabinskiy: There are certain legal agreements, which had been previously reached with Don King. They have been materially breached by Mr. King. After all that story with another failed drug test (of Guillermo Jones), we had to cancel one of our most intriguing projects this year – a rematch between Jones and Denis Lebedev. We have also incurred certain expenses – both financial and mental – which we aim to cover with the help of those legal proceedings.

That is exactly why I have engaged a team of lawyers in order to resolve this matter through court. Our lawyers have valued damages to be at least $2.4 million dollars. I want to specifically underline that the lawsuit isn’t exactly about money; it is a matter of principle and the assertion of my position.

BoxingScene: What does this amount consist of?

Ryabinskiy: That’s surely one thing I’m not particularly interested in. During the preparations for the rematch, all the conditions that our party signed off on were fully implemented. We complied with both the norms of the law and all the WBA requirements.

According to the New York Post, the funds that were laid out for the event also include a fee of $800,000 dollars that Mr. Ryabinskiy deposited into an Escrow Account at King's bank, for the delivery by the latter of Guillermo Jones’s services.

BoxingScene: Can you please name the lawyers? Are they from the States or from Russia? Have they been somehow connected to John Wirt?

Ryabinskiy: No, John Wirt isn’t a part of this legal team, but John has helped us much in the preparations for this lawsuit.

BoxingScene: How do you consider your chances with respect to this lawsuit being won?

Ryabinskiy: I consider my chances to win this lawsuit to be rather high. If I was not certain in the correctness of my allegations I would not have initiated this lawsuit.

BoxingScene: What is your personal position regarding this scandalous situation?

Ryabinskiy: This situation is very unpleasant for me. I had to enter the ring and explain to a great number of fans that were at the venue and to those waiting for the broadcast of this event in front of their television sets, that the fight is being cancelled as Jones’ pre-bout doping test is once again positive for the same prohibited substance as before.
Psychologically – it was a big blow. We have put in a colossal amount of time and effort in order to organize this rematch. As a promoter and the organizer of this Event, I took all the blame for the cancellation of this fight. And, yes, it was damaging for me to a certain degree.

BoxingScene: So, your attitude to Don King has turned to the worst, hasn’t it?

Ryabinskiy: Absolutely. I mean, he has fallen very low in my eyes.

BoxingScene: What are your closing thoughts and words, regarding the whole story?

Ryabinskiy: It is clear for me that Don King is to some extent closer to the US public, and by that I mean the boxing fans, experts and media, than a Russian team that was working on the organization of this event. We’ve prepared an enormous show for fans both in Russia and all over the world, a rematch of one of the most brutal and heartbreaking dramas of the last year, investing a tremendous amount of work and funds into this show. We did everything to give fans what they deserve – a Real Boxing Show. All of our efforts were ruined by Team Jones. That is completely unforgivable.

I want everyone to understand something – my team did absolutely everything to comply with every single requirement. There were certain allegations, regarding RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency). There were those who did their best to ensure everyone of its (RUSADA) incompetence. In order to dispel any doubts, the WBA issued a resolution in which they have appointed the Swiss laboratory (WADA accredited) as an independent doping control center for this fight. The WBA chose them due to their absolute neutrality coupled with the highest standards of work.

I want to underline that we were looking forward to this fight taking place. I was forced to cancel it because a real and fair boxing match cannot happen between a clean fighter and a fighter who is doped.

Andrey Ryabinskiy is the vice-president of Professional Boxing Federation of Russia, and the Head of GC «MIC» (Russian investment and development company) thanks Olga Novitskaya (Head of PR Department of GC MIC) for her contribution and assistance in making this interview possible.

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