Boxing: Bentt and Hide heavily fined for brawl: Licences may be withdrawn if heavyweight rivals repeat street punch-up

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The Independent Online
HERBIE HIDE and Michael Bentt, the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight champion, paid the price for publicity seeking yesterday - a pounds 10,000 fine apiece for brawling at a London hotel on 10 January.

Hide, the British champion, was also warned that any repeat would cost him his licence, while the WBO stressed that it would consider 'similar action' against Bentt if there were a repeat. Hide will appeal and Bentt will be recommended to do likewise. 'I am outraged by this fine, it is quite disgraceful,' Barry Hearn, Hide's manager, fumed. 'There's no doubt that Bentt threw the first punch, and the second, prior to retaliation.'

These punishments match the previous highest fine imposed by the British Boxing Board of Control, levied on Chris Eubank for butting Canada's Dan Sherry - in the ring - three years ago. Mark Kaylor was fined pounds 15,000 after a punch-up with Errol Christie at a news conference in 1985, but that was drastically reduced on appeal.

Chris Eubank drew a television audience of 13 million for last Saturday's successful WBO super-middleweight title defence against Graciano Rocchiagini. Match of the Day, in contrast, attracted a peak viewership of 4.2m at a similar time.

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