Roy Sheahan reveals he has still not received Last Man Standing prize money

Social media has been a hellscape today.

This morning Athy middleweight Roy Sheahan [4(1)-0] claimed that he is yet to be paid for his winning performance last month in Ireland’s Last Man Standing.

The Prizefighter-style competition was promoted by Red Corner Promotions in association with Assassin Promotions and brought together eight middleweights to compete for a potential prize-pool of up to €59,000 (€54,000 was the final figure).

It seemed to have been a Cinderella story for the Lilywhite who returned to boxing, turned pro, got one win under his belt, and then went on to win three times in one night at the National Stadium to claim top prize in the TG4-broadcast tournament.

Sheahan beat Vladimir Belujsky, JJ McDonagh, and Jack Cullen on what looked like a career-changing night where he drew a big TV audience, huge acclaim, and ‘won’ a €25,000 top prize along with a €1,000 knockout bonus and €5,000 for his amateur club St Michael’s Athy.

However, having so far received just €5,000 of this, the 33-year-old took to Facebook  to air his grievances.

The EU gold medalist alleged that he was not paid for his tournament win nor was he paid for his previous win at the York Hall. In addition to this, Sheahan took umbrage with “one of the promotions” – assumedly Assassin – wanting a 25% cut of his winnings [€6,500].

Having not received the full prize money, Sheahan described how he spent four weeks following the sensational victory without a regular income and recently began back working in his old construction job under Dan Curtis.

The impetus for this post seemed to be yesterday’s press conference for the inaugural JB Promotions show on July 7th at the National Stadium – which is being run in association with Assassin, whom Sheahan feels owe him a substantial sum of money.

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Irish-Boxing.com reached out to Sheahan but the upset fighter preferred not to comment further.

The non-payment of any professional boxer who steps into the ring is horrendous and what has happened to Roy Sheahan is despicable. However, there is a complex story here which we try to lay out as thoroughly and fairly as possible below.

Whose Fault is it Anyway?
While Assassin Promotions seem to be the target of Sheahan’s outburst, it has been made clear today by numerous parties that the Brighton outfit are, in this instance, largely blameless.

This outlet had heard, in the aftermath of the show, whispers of non-payment but with nothing definitive and nothing on-the-record.

It had been our understanding that Red Corner and Assassin had a gentlemen’s understanding where the former provided the prize money for Last Man Standing – as they were the promoter of record and had contracts with the fighters – while the latter fronted the running costs of the show.

Irish-Boxing.com attempted to contact Jonathan Graham of Red Corner Promotions for clarification but were met with no response.

While trainer Steven O’Rourke is officially Sheahan’s manager, this was understood to be a short-term proxy position, with Assassin doing the actual managerial duties which would, to a degree, explain why they sought a cut from Sheahan’s winnings.

Assassin Promotions boss Kaz Evans contacted Irish-Boxing.com this evening to give his company’s side, stressing that his outfit had nothing to do with the payment of prize monies for Last Man Standing – although ended up paying numerous fighters.

Evans explained that “we paid Roy €500 a week wages and I negotiated a deal with his boss where he paid him €200 a week, so he could train full-time for the competition.”

“For the York Hall, I paid the opponent, the house money, the flights, accommodation, the train fares, and we paid Roy €500 for the fight. All things considered, I think that [purse] was fair because I’d already spent three grand on everything else.”

“After the competition I thought he’d be signing [officially] with us. Because of the investment we’d put into him – it was seven-and-a-half thousand I’d spent – I thought it would be only fair that I took the 25% manager’s cut out of his winnings. Steven O’Rourke will back me up there, it was only right and fair.”

“I was supposed to meet Roy on Wednesday just gone. I was prepared to sit down and go ‘look, these boys owe you the money and the person who has probably the most power to get your money back is me’ – he cancelled the meeting Tuesday night saying he wouldn’t come unless we brought all the money… but I don’t owe him the money.”

“I think he’s a very talented boxer and I understand he’s got a bitter taste but you need to look at facts. It’s terrible that he hasn’t been paid and we have every sympathy. I don’t want Roy to think I’m attacking him, because I’m not, I just don’t want to be held accountable for something that isn’t my fault.”

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Don’t Shoot the Assassin
With a new partnership forged with Jay Byrne’s JB Promotions, the English promotional and managerial outfit are keen to be exonerated of any blame in this case and this has been aided by two further statements.

The Boxing Union of Ireland, this afternoon, clarified that “as a result of information received by the BUI, it is clear that the promoter of Last Man Standing tournament on March 3rd last, Jonathan Graham, has not paid monies due to certain fighters who participated on the night.”

“Mr. Graham has not contacted the BUI since March 3rd, and has been uncontactable despite repeated efforts by phone, email, and post.”

“The winner of the tournament, Roy Sheahan, has been paid €5,000.00 by way of part payment of his purse from the bond that was lodged with the BUI by Jonathan Graham on the 22nd of February 2018. This leaves an outstanding balance of €26,000.00 owed by Jonathan Graham to Roy Sheahan.”

“In contrast, Kaz Evans of Assassin Promotions has supplied the BUI with a detailed breakdown of payments made by him personally to various creditors including BBBofC licencees who participated on the night.”

Mel Christle of the BUI told Irish-Boxing.com that “Mr. Graham’s silence is deafening.”

Jay Byrne, who promotes his first show in association with Assassin in Dublin this Summer, explained how “after we announced that we would be entering the promotional game in Ireland we had a conversation with Assassin Boxing in regards working together.”

“I questioned the Roy Sheahan situation as I had heard some rumours, at this stage I was produced paperwork to show payments paid for the Last Man Standing Card adding up to quite a large sum.”

“Being the business man I am I then contacted Mel from the BUI to arrange a meeting to discuss my first promotion and what the situation regards payments from Last Man Standing was. Mel was open with me and explained that their had been no interaction from Red Corner Promotions from the day of the show and the only person that had produced significant information and documents from payments made was Kaz Evans from Assassin Boxing.”

“Also for the public’s attention I would like to make aware that Jay Byrne is the promotor for ‘The Beginning’ and nobody else. This show is being ran in association [with Assassin] but from yesterday’s press conference I am sure people who where there and who watched online are aware of this.”

“Also I add to this that I think it’s an absolute disgrace that Roy has not been paid! It’s the lowest of the low and whoever is responsible should be ashamed of themselves.”

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Last Man Outstanding
Where all this leaves Roy Sheahan is unsure. The supremely talented fighter is owed money from Red Corner and legal proceedings are surely to follow on which it would be unwise to comment.

While today may not have been a great one for the relationship between Sheahan and Assassin, we would hope that some sort of ongoing agreement between the two parties is quickly hammered out so that he can return to boxing and build on last month’s stunning win.

Primarily, though, all Irish-Boxing.com want is for Sheahan to be paid the money he is so richly deserving of as soon as possible – and that we see ‘The Joker’ back in the ring as soon as possible.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]