A preliminary hearing in the dispute between Derry boxer John Duddy and Irish Ropes Promotions last Thursday saw no common ground reached between the two parties. "We just haven't gotten anywhere," Duddy's legal representative Gary Friedman told the Irish Voice Monday. "At the court's invitation we are filing a motion tomorrow (Tuesday) to preclude Irish Ropes from interfering with John fighting," continued Friedman. "All John wants to do is to get on with his career, and Irish Ropes appear to be bent on preventing that from happening. "John would like nothing more that to fight on St. Patrick's Day in the New York area, and what we are asking is the court to approve an arrangement under which he can do that." The once harmonious relationship broke down when Duddy left training camp in November and took on legal representation to break his ties with Irish Ropes Promotions. Since then there have been a few meetings between both sides to discuss the contractual situation (there are two contracts, a managerial contract between Duddy and Tony McLoughlin that expires in April and the promotional contract between Duddy and Irish Ropes Promotions that is longer in duration) to see if an amicable parting agreement could be reached. "We have bent over backwards to settle this, but the reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of undisclosed income, income that was undisclosed to John over the years," claimed Friedman. "We've being saying 'no comment, no comment,' while the McLoughlins have been talking to the media, and that is because we have been trying to resolve this. We knew that there would come a time when we would have to speak for John. "What we can prove in court is that there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of undisclosed money received by the promoters over the course of time, and it is really unfair to the fighter, who after all is the guy who steps in the ring and has to risk getting his head getting bashed in." Has any chance of a reconciliation between the two sides gone by the wayside? "Nothing is ever by the wayside. Notwithstanding everything I just said, we are agreeable to trying to resolve this, but I can't imagine that there is going to be any resolution under which John is going to continue to work with Irish Ropes," Friedman said. Friedman has specified the date that his client would ideally like to return to the ring. "There is a March 16 date, Patrick's Day eve, on hold with Cedric Kushner at the Hammerstein Ballroom. That is the event that we would like to take advantage of," says Friedman. "Our primary focus would be to have John as headliner on a card promoted buy Gotham Boxing on Patrick's Day eve. That is what we are seeking to achieve." Friedman went on to say that Irish Ropes were planning to have a March 16 date at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden, but their application was turned down by the New York State Athletic Commission. Friedman also claimed that their promotional license had lapsed and had not been renewed. Furthermore, Friedman added that the commission had launched disciplinary actions against Irish Ropes Promotions and Tony McLoughlin over the cancellation of the Duddy/Sam Hill fight in November. Is Friedman confident that the motion to get Duddy back in the ring will succeed? "I am confident that by hook or by crook we'll be able to get John out fighting again shortly. I think that it is likely the court will grant this application, in part because Irish Ropes could not promote him now anyway." Irish Ropes President Eddie McLoughlin, who plans to have Andy Lee headline his March 16 card against Walid Smichet at the WaMu Theater, does not see things quite like Friedman, and denied that any money was misappropriated. "Everything is out there and there to see under scrutiny. We never hid any amount of undisclosed money," McLoughlin told the Irish Voice during an interview. In terms of the disciplinary action from the commission McLoughlin told the Irish Voice, "The commission wants this to be settled. Cedric (Kushner) has lodged a complaint against me, Duddy and Tony (McLoughlin) for causing him x amount of tens of thousands of dollars for the show (the November 21 fight against Sam Hill) being cancelled. "When I requested a date for March 16 they (the commission) didn't actually give it to me, but they didn't refuse it either," said McLoughlin. "There are some issues to be resolved, one of them would be to come to an agreement with Cedric Kushner and another would be to come to an agreement with Manny Steward over Andy Lee." McLoughlin meets Lee's manager/trainer this week to see if he can make a deal. Also, if he and Kushner come to an arrangement and the Gotham Boxing head withdraws his complaint, then the Irish Ropes President is confident that the Commission will allow him to hold a St. Patrick's day show. With regard to his license, McLoughlin said, "As of now my license has expired. You apply for a new license and as of now, I don't have a license in my hand, but I have heard of no reason as to why I won't be processed," adding that he had made the application for renewal. McLoughlin also said he saw little chance of Duddy appearing on an Irish Ropes card simply because he was concerned of a repeat of what happened in November and that the whole affair had caused a lot of hurt in the Irish community.
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