Frank Warren, the internationally respected boxing promoter has accepted substantial libel damages from the publisher Random House over allegations published in the book “Ricky Hatton: The Hitman, My Story”. The book is the autobiography of Ricky Hatton, the well-known professional boxer and former IBF World Light-Welterweight world champion, who was promoted by Frank Warren between 1997 and 2004. The book was written in association with the Daily Express boxing journalist, Niall Hickman.
Random House has agreed to pay Frank Warren £115,000 in damages together with his legal costs over three wholly false, poorly researched and highly defamatory allegations that were made about him.
Firstly, it alleged that he conned the boxer Vince Phillips into accepting a pitiful fee to fight Ricky Hatton by lying about the sale of the US television rights. In fact, Random House discovered from Vince Phillips himself, as long ago as November 2006, that this allegation was false and that Frank Warren had not lied to him. The publisher apologised to Mr Warren in open court in October last year for making this allegation.
Secondly, the book claimed that Mr Warren had pressurised Ricky Hatton into competing in a fight against the boxer Carlos Vilches despite the fact that he knew that Ricky Hatton was allegedly not fit to fight. In fact, this is completely false. Frank Warren finds this allegation all the more hurtful given the lengths to which he goes to safeguard the health and welfare of the boxers he promotes.
Thirdly, the book falsely alleged that Frank Warren lied to the readers of the News of the World by telling them that Ricky Hatton made £6 million whilst being managed by him. Ricky Hatton states in the book that he earned “nowhere near £6 million”. In fact, Frank Warren paid Ricky Hatton in excess of £6million. The figures and schedules of payment proving this were sent to Random House as long ago as October 2006.
Random House had every opportunity to investigate the truth of the allegations. Over a period of two years since Mr Warren’s initial complaint over the claims in October 2006, the publisher left no stone unturned in trying to prove these allegations. However, with a trial date looming for 1 December 2008, it finally made an offer to settle of £115,000 plus the payment of Mr Warren’s legal costs. Frank Warren said today:
“I am pleased that Random House has finally acknowledged by their offer of substantial damages that these serious and highly damaging allegations are wholly indefensible. It has taken me two years to get justice and an acknowledgment that these baseless allegations were completely false. However, even though the book was pulped in 2007, it has aggressively sought to defend these hurtful and distressing allegations about me and dragged me through many weeks of Court hearings, all to no avail, before backing down in advance of the trial that was due to commence on 1 December of this year.
This legal fight has cost Random House millions in legal fees and damages. I am completely mystified by their behaviour and why they did not accept my offer, before the book was published, to check the accuracy of their allegations.”