An Irish tourist filmed fighting a group of shopkeepers in Istanbul has said they “messed with the wrong man”, as he spoke publicly for the first time since the video emerged.
Turkish media identified the tourist as Mohammed Fadel Dobbous, a Kuwait-born Irish national who has become something of a social media hero after the grainy CCTV footage of his fight was aired on TV.
Speaking in a thick Irish-Kuwaiti accent, Mr Dobbous told Turkey’s Show TV that he was “shocked” the incident escalated so quickly after he accidentally spilled some bottles of water from a drinks cabinet.
He also revealed that while Turkish media reported he was a professional boxer, he was in fact “just training”, adding that he didn’t do proper fights “unless necessary”.
It was the first time Mr Dobbous had spoken out in public since a video of the fight, which took place on 1 August, went viral on Turkish social media.
He remained in Istanbul, and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to The Independent that it was providing Mr Dobbous with “consular assistance”, as he comes to terms with his newfound fame.
The CCTV footage which emerged on Tuesday night showed up to 15 locals surrounding Mr Dobbous, some hitting him with sticks and chairs, while others try to break up the fight. He stays on his feet, and twice goes back to the shop to remonstrate with the owner when things seemed to have calmed down.
Describing what sources at the Irish consulate in Istanbul called a “fun incident”, the amateur boxer said he was only annoyed the Turkish shopkeepers wouldn’t “fight like men… with their bare hands”.
“I wasn’t drunk, I don’t drink,” he said. “When the water fell on the ground I went to apologise to the shop owners, but they attacked me with sticks.”
Mr Dobbous was wearing a sling during the interview, and said he had broken his hand, injured his shoulder and even received a knife wound to the back during the fight. He also lost his phone, watch and a gold chain.
But he said the incident would not stop him coming back to Istanbul again, and asked if he had been scared at any point, he said: “No, no I wasn't.”Reuse content