Carl Frampton has won his legal challenge to have his case against his former manager Barry McGuigan, heard in Northern Ireland.
The McGuigans had wanted the trial to take place in England.
Frampton is suing McGuigan, his wife Sandra and Cyclone Promotions alleging he failed to receive significant sums of money during his time with the promotional outfit.
The McGuigans are counter suing claiming breach of contract and it remains up to an English Court to decide where the counter-suing case will be heard, with London being their preferred venue.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Horner described both as “boxing legends”, but noted that McGuigan and Frampton had “fallen out big time” in a repeat of the controversial Monaghan fight figure’s damaged relationship with his former manager Barney Eastwood.
On Tuesday, the judge said it would be “unjust” to Frampton if he was deprived of a hearing in Northern Ireland.
Mr Justice Horner said: “Frampton is a Belfast fighter who was born, bred and who lives in Northern Ireland.”
“Most of the income generated from his fights has been generated in Northern Ireland. Cyclone Promotions is a Northern Ireland company.”
“The High Court in Belfast can offer an expeditious trial, with litigation less expensive than in London.”
“Northern Ireland is the centre of gravity in this dispute.”
Frampton has claimed he had began to become suspicious in the build-up to and aftermath of his massive clash with Scott Quigg in February 2016 and alleges that he was made wait months for payment.
Following successive featherweight title clashes with Leo Santa Cruz Frampton then had the “realisation or belief that the McGuigans were ripping him off and concealing it.”
The Tiger’s Bay man was building toward his ill-fated bout with Andres Gutierrez last Summer and was visited at home by the Revenue who were demanding an unpaid tax bill of £397,000. Frampton then resigned from his directorship with Cyclone, which emerged following the Gutierrez cancellation, and his split with the outfit was confirmed soonafter.
Following the ruling, Frampton’s solicitor, John Finucane, said that “On behalf of my client Carl Frampton, we welcome Mr Justice Horner’s judgment today that his cases against Cyclone Promotions Ltd, Cyclone Promotions (UK) Limited, Barry & Sandra McGuigan will be heard before the High Court in Belfast.”
“The Court agreed with our argument that Mr Frampton had a right to have his cases heard here in Belfast, and importantly was first to correctly issue and serve proceedings before a court.
“Whilst the evidence remains to be tested, and we acknowledge that this will happen expeditiously, we note the questions and comments of the court in today’s judgment.”
“As the Court referred to today, we were surprised that, during the course of the jurisdictional dispute, Mr Barry McGuigan chose not to give any evidence. We will now prepare and look forward to the fact that Mr Barry McGuigan, and other members of the McGuigan family, will be required to come to Belfast and give evidence in court under oath.”
“One of the many questions which require detailed explanation, and truly at the heart of this case is referred to at para. 18 of today’s judgment which states;
“It has to be recognised that it is exceptionally difficult to follow or understand what has happened or is alleged to have happened because many of the legal entities have used or use the same or similar names. Companies within the Cyclone Connection use the same names as companies that have been dissolved. One of the many issues, which this litigation will have to resolve, is whether this was a deliberate decision on the part of the Cyclone Connection in an effort to sow the seeds of confusion and make it much more difficult and complicated for Frampton to enforce his legal rights.”
“In the context of my client’s contractual claim the court went on to highlight that Mr McGuigan would be live to the obvious conflict of interest if one person acted as both manager and promoter. In fact, Barry McGuigan said the following, which was taken from “Barry McGuigan: The Untold Story”;
“There should never be any financial connection whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, between any manager and any promoter. Even a blind man can see that when you have the one person wearing the two hats – or somebody else wear one for him – then that is an obvious conflict of interest.”
“My client Carl Frampton has always sought a fair, reasonable and successful outcome to this dispute, and whilst he continues to enjoy a highly successful career we will now focus on bringing all outstanding matters before the court at the earliest opportunity.”