Birmingham lawyers hope to land the next blow in a legal battle sparked by the 2012 bout between heavyweights David
Haye and Dereck Chisora.
The much-publicised fight at Upton Park saw the Federation Luxembourgoise de Boxe grant licences for the two boxers after they were revoked in the UK following an infamous brawl at a press conference in February 2012.
Philip Williams and Rupert Beloff, of Birmingham’s No5 Chambers, are now representing boxing manager and chairman of the Professional Boxing Promoters Association (PBPA) Bruce Baker, whose licence was withdrawn by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC).
Mr Baker claims removal of his licence was an attempt at restraint of trade on the part of the BBBC and was contrary to the freedom of movement and trade within the European Union.
The BBBC issued a statement in May 2012 condemning the fight, indicating any members involved in its promotion would be deemed to have terminated their membership and lose their licences, a position later revised to say they would instead be summoned before the board.
But Mr Baker and members of the PBPA maintain there was no reason under European law why he and other managers and promoters should be stopped from working with another European board to promote events in Europe and the UK.
Following the contest, which Haye won, the Federation Luxembourgoise de Boxe found itself expelled from the European Boxing Union (EBU).
Michael Cotter of Regulatory Legal Solicitors, who instructed Mr Williams and Mr Beloff to represent Mr Baker, said: “Relations between the BBBC and Bruce Baker were not enhanced when the BBBC went on to revoke Mr Baker’s licence in February 2014 after Dave Murphy had promoted an event where Mr Baker acted as the German Boxing Association representative and managed a boxer at the show too. The BBBC had deemed this event to not be licensed.”
Mr Baker claims the BBBC is trying to remain as “the exclusive sanctioning body of boxing fights in the UK, contrary to the spirit and letter of EU law”.
He said: “The PBPA assists in the operation of GBA shows in the UK and I acted as the GBA representative on shows promoted by a member who held licences with the BBBC and the GBA.
“Following my involvement, the BBBC revoked my manager’s licence, causing me significant difficulty as, in my capacity as a BBBC manager, I manage seven boxers.
“We believe our members should have the choice if they want to run shows with an alternative body. It is their statutory right to do so.
“The BBBC has awarded itself the right to regulate professional boxing bouts in Britain to the exclusion of any other boxing regulators while, in contrast, there are multiple regulators in many European countries and federations from one country may and do sanction contests in other countries. There is thus a greater element of competition in mainland Europe.
“The board is a private members’ club looking to restrict competition and trade. The objective of my case is to persuade the BBBC to act lawfully, so that the market for professional boxing may expand and our members might have the choice of either running events under the auspices of the BBBC or with the GBA.
“They should not be restricted by outdated and unlawful regulations imposed upon them from above by the BBBC, which only regulates in its own self-interest.”
Mr Baker’s legal team, which also includes barrister David Young, is currently awaiting a response from the BBBC to the request for reinstatement of his licence and a review of the board’s rules to comply with EU procurement law.