Boxing Union of Ireland's investigation on McDonagh vs Gomez
17.02.06 - Statement from promoter Brian Peters: The Boxing Union of Ireland has today released the outcome of an in-depth investigation in to the result of last month’s Irish lightweight title fight between Peter McDonagh and Michael Gomez. Both boxers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to the fight and both purses will now be paid in full. As the promoter of the bout I welcome the Boxing Union of Ireland’s findings following such a comprehensive investigation..
It’s disappointing that the bookies that made the most noise on this issue have proven to be “Spoyle Sports” by not co-operating with the Boxing Union of Ireland’s investigation.
It’s unfortunate that a publicity ploy embarked upon by this particular bookies did not take into consideration the effect that it would have on Irish professional boxing and in particular the careers of Peter McDonagh, Michael Gomez and their respective trainers and managers.
It also took the shine off yet another impressive performance by Bernard Dunne.
Having failed to “put up” in regards to the Boxing Union of Ireland investigation perhaps it is time for the bookies concerned to “shut up”.
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DECISION OF THE BOXING UNION OF IRELAND
This decision arises out of an investigation into the circumstances in which the All-Ireland title fight between Peter McDonagh and Michael Gomez on the 28th day of January, 2006 finished.
In the fifth round of the aforesaid fight, for no apparent reason, Michael Gomez walked away from Peter McDonagh, ceasing to defend himself. Peter McDonagh continued boxing and hit Michael Gomez approximately seven times before knocking him to the canvas with a right hand punch. Thereafter, Michael Gomez walked to his corner, waving his right glove, as referee, Sean Russell, proceeded to administer a count. By the time referee Russell reached the nine count, Gomez was in his own corner and his trainer, Billy Graham, was standing by the ring ropes. At this stage, referee Russell stopped the bout.
The above circumstances were, in themselves, highly unusual. On live national television, Stephen Collins said the following:-
1.“I would like to know if there was big money bet on the fight to be stopped in the fifth.”
2.“I would be surprised if Mel Christle and the BUI do not investigate this.”
3. “I smell a rat.”
4. “It stinks.”
5. “If it was me, I would withhold the purse.”
Shortly afterwards, ringside commentator, Jimmy Magee, stated, just before the start of the Bernard Dunne -v- Noel Wilders bout:-
“Here at ringside, we have just learned that Boylesports suspended betting in the Gomez fight for rounds 5, 6 and 7.”
In the printed and broadcast media over the following few days there was discussion as to whether there had been a betting scam and the suggestion was made in some articles that the fight had been fixed.
Boxing Union of Ireland’s investigation
The Executive Committee of the Boxing Union of Ireland carried out an investigation with a view to answering three questions.
1. Did Michael Gomez walk away from the fight in circumstances where he was still able to defend himself and keep fighting?
2. If so, what were his motives in so doing?
3. Did anyone profit financially, directly or indirectly, by doing that, or was there any “betting scam”.
The Boxing Union of Ireland has interviewed, taken evidence and received evidence, written or oral, from the following persons:-
(c)Dr David O’Flaherty, ringside medical adviser;
(d)Sean Russell, referee;
(e)(i) Adrian Eastwood, Eastwood Bookmakers;
(ii)Brian Cusack, Senior Sports Trader, Paddy Power Bookmakers;
(iii)Cashman’s Bookmakers, Cork; and
(f)the British Boxing Board of Control.
In relation to the first question, the overwhelming evidence is that Michael Gomez did walk away in circumstances where he was able to defend himself. In other words, he could have kept going with the fight, but decided not to.
The second and third questions are clearly inter-related. It would be a matter of the gravest concern for the Boxing Union of Ireland if there was any betting scam or if it appeared that any fight was “fixed”.
Both Michael Gomez and Peter McDonagh confirmed that neither they, their families, nor any person in their camp, as far as they were aware, betted on the fight. Michael Gomez said that he stopped fighting because he made a decision, there and then in the fifth round to retire from the sport. Subsequent to the fight announced his retirement from the sport.
More importantly, however, the Boxing Union of Ireland wrote to various bookmakers, by registered post, including Boylesports. For the purposes of this investigation, it is extremely disappointing that, out of all the bookmakers written to, Boylesports was the only bookmaker who failed to reply to the Boxing Union of Ireland’s queries. This is particularly so, since a representative of Boylesports was prepared to go on Newstalk 106 and RTÉ Radio 1 to discuss the matter, in addition to the fact that it was stated on national television on the night of the fight that “Boylesports have suspended betting”.
For the record:-
(a)No money was bet with Eastwoods on the fight, as they had not quoted odds on the fight.
(b)No bets were placed with Paddy Power Bookmakers in relation to McDonagh winning in the fifth round. However, bets were placed on McDonagh winning in rounds 7 and 8 and on points. In their opinion, there was no evidence of unusual betting patterns on the fight and no decision was taken to suspend betting. There were no substantial bets placed with Paddy Power’s, and the company paid out on all winning bets. Finally, Paddy Power’s made money, overall, on the betting in relation to this bout.
(c)A spokesman for Cashman’s stated that no bets were placed on the bout with their firm, as they did not quote odds on the bout. Anecdotal evidence was furnished that a query had been made at one of their shops by a punter as to what odds would be quoted in relation to McDonagh winning in the fifth round, but no odds were quoted.
(d) Boylesports did not reply to the Boxing Union of Ireland’s registered letter dated 3rd February, 2006.
In the light of Boylesports’ failure to reply to the Boxing Union of Ireland’s query in relation to betting patterns, the Boxing Union of Ireland examined the interview between Paul Magee of Boylesports and Eoin McDevitt on Newstalk 106. In the course of that interview, Boylesports representative merely stated that “We didn’t say irregular betting” “We had bets and we paid out the people” and “We have absolutely taken no line that there was anything untoward done whatsoever. All it was is that our traders suspended betting on the outcome.” He appears to make it clear that there is no allegation on the part of Boylesports that there was any betting scam. It was stated that Boylesports paid out on the bets “as a gesture of goodwill”. Given that there was no suggestion of any betting scam, then it is inappropriate that Boylesports would say that they are paying out on their bets as a “gesture of goodwill”. We would have thought that they should be paying out because the money is owed to punters.
Finally, information received from the British Boxing Board of Control, who have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of British Bookmakers, confirms that they have received no reports of any betting on this fight in Great Britain.
Following a detailed investigation by the BUI Executive into the circumstances surrounding the All Ireland Lightweight Championship bout on 28th January, 2006, it has been decided:-
1.that Mr Gomez stopped fighting when he was physically capable of continuing;
2.Mr Gomez made the decision himself to stop fighting because he had decided to retire from the sport and he announced his retirement from the ring after the fight;
3.neither Mr Gomez or Peter McDonagh profited financially.
In the light of all the circumstances, the Executive has decided:-
(a) to release the purses to both fighters; and
(b) that no financial penalty be imposed on either fighter.
[Michael, this note was at the end - I don’t know whether it was to be included:-
No evidence re betting coup.
Image of boxing being damaged was unsubstantiated.]
Article posted on 17.02.2006
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