Frank Warren wins libel damages

Boxing promoter awarded £35,000 over allegations made by boxer Herbie Hide

Frank Warren was today awarded £35,000 in the High Court in libel damages in respect of false claims made last year by boxer Herbie Hide on Setanta Sports News that Warren had paid a boxer to retire so that one he promoted would take his World Championship belt.

During a live telephone interview with the presenters of the programme ‘Steve Bunce’s Boxing Hour’ on 17 July 2008, Mr Hide, formerly managed and promoted by Mr Warren, claimed that former WBO World Cruiserweight Champion Johnny Nelson had been paid by Warren to retire from the sport in order that one of Mr Warren’s fighters, Enzo Maccarinelli, would unjustifiably gain it without having to fight him, even though Mr Nelson was going to retire in any event.

This allegation was untrue and Setanta agreed the same day not to include it in repeats of the programme. However a clip of the show including the allegation was posted on YouTube, and the allegation was repeated and discussed on boxing websites. Mr Warren’s solicitors, Carter-Ruck, secured an apology from Setanta that was broadcast in November.

Mr Warren and Mr Hide had been involved in separate litigation last year relating to payments made by Mr Warren to Mr Hide, with Tugendhat J finding in Mr Warren’s favour and noting that Mr Hide “continued to harbour a grievance against” Mr Warren. Despite defending those proceedings Mr Hide failed to respond to the libel claim or any correspondence and Mr Warren was granted judgment in default of acknowledgement of service.

Giving evidence at the hearing, Mr Warren said that he was “extremely angry and annoyed” by the “outrageous” allegation.

Awarding Mr Warren £35,000 in damages, His Honour Judge Moloney QC (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) said that this was “a serious case” and that it was “a very important factor” that the Court award a sum sufficient to demonstrate “that “Mr Warren has received the full vindication of this Court”.

5RB‘s Richard Munden (instructed by Carter-Ruck) acted for Mr Warren.