Boxing: Boxing promoter 'sabotaged': Jonathan Rendall on the re-emergence of Alan Lacey, the troubled promoter of 'Boxmania'

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The Independent Online
THE mystery of the missing boxing promoter was solved yesterday. Alan Lacey, the promoter of the 'Boxmania' bill in Brixton last Wednesday, re- emerged saying he would be fighting back. He also claimed that he had been the victim of saboteurs.

Lacey went missing midway through the promotion - his first - leaving managers and boxers alarmed that they had not received their wages. The show had featured several high-profile boxers, including John 'The Beast' Mugabi, Kirkland Laing and Gary Stretch. The British Boxing Board of Control announced it would be looking into the matter.

But yesterday Lacey, speaking at a press conference in north London, said: 'There is no question that everybody will be paid. I believe seven boxers have still to receive their purses and they will be paid today.'

Ambrose Mendy, the entrepreneur who was the promotion's 'producer', said payments would have been made on the night had not Lacey 'snapped' under the pressure of events.

Lacey explained that he was in the office in the arena paying people out when 'I suddenly felt the need to have some fresh air. I thought I was going to keel over. I am now under medical supervision. I am told that I was suffering from mental and physical exhaustion, heart palpitations and also dehydration. I lost 10lb overnight.

'It all comes from trying to burn the candle at both ends. It happened to me once before on a flight to Las Vegas. But I survived that and I will survive this.' Lacey and Mendy said they had received information that 'concerted attempts' had been made to sabotage the promotion in advance. Mendy said managers, venue representatives and ticket printers had received telephone calls from a man, warning them off having anything to do with the promotion.

'I know who was the architect behind it,' Mendy said. 'And all I can say is he will not be doing it again.' Lacey said that he had been under pressure from the board to distance himself from Mendy, who is not licensed by the board, and to withdraw Laing from the bill for medical reasons. Mendy said: 'When we took Kirkland on he was a walking disaster area. Now he is transformed. He is going to Bristol shortly to lecture schoolkids on drug awareness.'

Mendy added that he was planning to sue the board and claimed that he had the backing of the Commission for Racial Equality. 'I don't know who on the board is blocking me,' Mendy said. 'For my part I think they are one of the best boxing commissions in the world. When I was in Ford open prison a board inspector came to see me three times. He said, 'I live just down the road if you need anything.'

The board has deferred its interview with Lacey until he is 'fit and well'. The board secretary, John Morris, told reporters that he did not want to 'malign the promoter' until the facts were known.

Lacey and Mendy were encouraged by the walk-up gate of 2,000 in Brixton and, despite teething problems, now plan to take 'Boxmania' around the country. 'I feel strongly that we have identified a new market,' Lacey said.

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