Don King Found Liable for Cancelled Lebedev-Jones Boxing Match

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Manhattan federal court found boxing promoter Don King to be liable for breach of contract, over his fighter’s failed drug test, prior to World Boxing Association (“WBA”) sanctioned Cruiserweight Champion title rematch. King was sued by World of Boxing LLC, a Russian boxing company that organized the bout.

Russian boxing promoter, Andrey Ryabinskiy won his lawsuit against Don King over the canceled fight organized by Mr. Ryabinskiy and his promotion company World of Boxing LLC. Cruiserweight Champion title rematch between Jones and Lebedev had to be called off, after King’s fighter tested positive for furosemide, only hours before the bout.

According to Judge Shira Scheindlin, the relevant facts of the case were not in dispute. “Under WBA rules - which the Agreement incorporates by reference - any boxer who tests positive for a banned, performance-enhancing substance is disqualified from WBA-sponsored bouts for no less than six months. Both parties agree that Jones ingested furosemide, and there is no question that having tested positive for furosemide, Jones could not participate in the bout. This ends the inquiry. If Jones could not participate in the bout, it follows a fortiori that King could not have caused Jones to participate in the bout. Therefore, King breached the Agreement.”

According to the court documents, King previously argued that “by ingesting furosemide, Jones 'disabled' himself from participating in a WBA-sponsored bout, thereby 'extinguishing' King’s obligation to perform”, and that Jones’s decision to take furosemide was "outside of King’s control". However, in her summary Judge Scheindlin clarified that “an impossibility defense is only available if the frustration of performance was 'produced by an unanticipated event that could not have been foreseen or guarded against in the contract,' and that 'the decision not to bargain for more protective contract terms' was in King’s control".

King's counterclaims were also dismissed, as the judge found that “King’s argument that Lebedev breached the Agreement necessarily fails, because the Agreement had already been breached - by King - when Lebedev withdrew.”

Now that the liable party has been established, both parties are directed to submit their briefings as to damages, which are to be determined later.

The case is World of Boxing LLC et al v. King et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-03791.

About Mr. Ryabinskiy & World of Boxing LLC
Andrey Ryabinskiy is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of MIC Group of Companies, a major investment and real-estate development holding. Mr. Ryabinskiy is also a vice-president of The Russian Federation of Professional Boxing and the founder of World of Boxing LLC, a boxing promotion company that Mr. Ryabinskiy plans to turn into a leading global boxing promoter. To date, along with Denis Lebedev, World of Boxing LLC has signed several other high profile boxing champions, including Alexander Povetkin, Grigory Drozd and Rakhim Chakhkiev. Andrey Ryabinskiy previously attracted world attention after the grand fight night last October, hosted at the largest Moscow Arena, with the main feature being a fight for the super heavyweight WBA, WBO, IBO, IBF world championship, between Vladimir Klitschko v. Alexander Povetkin.

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Dennis Serikov
AuricAdvisors.com
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