Blain McGuigan was accused by counsel for Carl Frampton of lying to the authorities with regard to the takings from the fighter’s hometown world title win in the High Court today.
It was alleged in court that ticket sales for the IBF world title fight, which took place outdoors in a purpose built stadium at the Titanic Quarter, were under-declared by just under £400,000.
The promoter and eldest of three brothers involved in Frampton’s career pre a 2017 split, didn’t deny under declaration, calling it regular practice.
The son of former world champion Barry McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions director did reject hiding income from Frampton or offering ‘The Jackal’ 30% profit share.
On day 17 of the trial attention turned to the September 2014 contest.
The court heard just under £900,000 worth of tickets were sold for the world fight, but £509,000 in takings was reported to the British Boxing Board of Control.
McGuigan explained that Cyclone had already agreed to pay the Board a fixed sum of £10,000.
“It’s a huge under-declaration, nearly half of the ticket sales.” Millar argued. “If you have an agreement with them, which I don’t accept, why do you need to lie to them in this document?”
“That might have been what we were able to calculate at that point,” responded McGuigan. “I don’t know, but whatever happened it’s not relevant because we had a pre-agreed fee with them.
“Under-declaration does occur a lot. Every promoter does it.”
It was originally planned to have up to 16,000 fans in the purpose-built arena on the Titanic slipways.
McGuigan said between 1,500 and 2,000 seats were pulled out in the final weeks after realising the event was not going to sell out.
Gavin Millar QC, for Frampton, also queried 855 complimentary tickets allocated Cyclone stating: “It’s a huge number, far too many to give away.”
During cross examination McGuigan was queried about his role as Frampton’s promoter.
McGuigan was challenged to produce any documentation showing he promoted some of the boxer’s big contests.
McGuigan suggested the BBBofC would evidence and documentation.
Assertions Frampton was kept out of discussions about purse fees and financial arrangements were also denied by McGuigan.
“Carl wouldn’t have been satisfied at the time just to have got a number plucked out of the sky,” he stressed.
“Boxers never do that, they don’t go in and put their neck on the line without knowing their value.”
Another central part of Frampton’s case, that he was allegedly promised a 30% share of profits as a director of a Northern Ireland-based Cyclone Promotions company, was also categorically disputed.
“The first time I heard about that was when these proceedings started,” McGuigan said.
Frampton is suing former manager Barry McGuigan for withheld earnings of up to £6m, while McGuigan has a separate counter claim for breach of contract.