Boxer beaten by gang refuses to talk to police

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The Independent Online

A world champion boxer is refusing to talk to police after a gang dragged him from his car in Belfast and broke his leg with baseball bats.

Eamonn Magee, 32, the World Boxing Union welterweight champion, also suffered a possible punctured lung and his future as a boxer is in doubt. Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland found out about the assault on Mr Magee, which took place in the Blacks Road area of west Belfast on Sunday night, yesterday after Irish journalists began making inquiries. Detectives visited Mr Magee in hospital but he refused to be interviewed.

The boxer, who was due to face one of the biggest fights of his career next month, was having difficulty breathing as he recovered. He underwent emergency surgery for compound fractures to his tibia and fibula. His condition is stable.

Mr Magee was driving a friend's car when he was forced to pull over after being confronted by a gang. He was dragged from the car and beaten. When police officers arrived, there was nothing at the scene except broken glass. The boxer, from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, had been in line for a big payout from a fight with the American former World Boxing Association welterweight champion Sharmba Mitchell on 3 April.

Mr Magee, a former Commonwealth light-welterweight champion and world junior silver medallist, nicknamed "The Terminator", clinched his WBU title in Cardiff in December last year. John Breen, his coach, said: "It's a sickening blow. He seemed to be on his way to some very big fights but now you just wonder what the future will hold. The fight with Mitchell would have been one of the biggest any Irishman has been involved with for many years."

The promoter Frank Warren said he had planned to clinch the Mitchell fight yesterday.

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