Boxing: Fighters admit `diving' to earn big pay-outs

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The Independent Online
THE AMERICAN fight-game was hit below the belt again yesterday when the Miami Herald claimed that at least 30 professional contests had been fixed or tainted with fraud in the past 12 years.

The admissions came in sworn statements and interviews The Herald did with more than 60 fighters, promoters, trainers, managers, matchmakers and commissioners. Some of the boxers negotiated payments to throw matches, while other "took a dive" merely to avoid injury and pick up an easy pay cheque.

Tony Fulilangi, once a world-ranked heavyweight, said he faked a second- round knockout by George Foreman on 27 October, 1998, in Marshall, Texas.

He received $30,000 (pounds 18,300) to fight Foreman and the fight ended when Fulilangi ducked under a punch and hit the canvas. "I went down just to get the money," he said. "I went to the airport with a smile on my face." Foreman laughed when told of Fulilangi's comments. "That happened to me all the time," Foreman said. "If they're getting a whipping, it's up to them to decide if they want to continue."

Another boxer, the former heavyweight Andre Smiley, said he made thousands of dollars faking 14 knockouts from 1990 to 1997. Others claimed many fraudulent matches were arranged by promoters or matchmakers intent on improving a fighter's record and ranking to earn big-money title fights.

The FBI is currently investigating criminal misconduct in boxing, but the new allegations go much further.

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