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Boxing champ hit with £17k bill for punching tycoon

By Deborah McAleese

Former world boxing champion Eamonn Loughran, who lost tens of thousands of pounds in an alleged £4m overseas holiday home scam, has been ordered to pay £7,500 in damages for punching the Northern Ireland businessman at the centre of the alleged fraud.

Property tycoon Kevin O’Kane yesterday successfully sued the ex-world welterweight champion, who hit him in the face during an argument over the alleged scam that saw dozens of people receiving “fake deeds” for holiday apartments in Turkey for which they had paid up to £80,000.

Mr Loughran was also ordered by Coleraine County Court to pay £10,000 in court costs.

Mr O’Kane’s solicitor, Hugh Leslie of John J Rice & Company, said that his client is “relieved that the matter is over and feels fully vindicated in bringing this action to court”.

The boxing star, however, said he was “dumfounded” by the findings of the court and that he felt “let down” by the legal system. During the civil hearing Mr O’Kane — who has denied any wrongdoing in the alleged fraud which is still under investigation by police in Turkey and the PSNI — said he had to receive stitches after he was punched by Mr Loughran in 2007.

Mr Loughran, however, told the court that he struck out in self-defence, claiming that the Bellaghy property developer had attempted to headbutt him.

The incident occurred after Mr Loughran, who lost £75,000 in the holiday homes scheme, confronted Mr O’Kane in Turkey.

Mr Loughran was on holiday in the resort of Gumbet with his wife and son when he arranged to meet Mr O’Kane to discuss the deal.

The third meeting between the pair became heated and Mr O’Kane said the former boxer punched him in the face, knocking him over onto the pavement.

Deputy County Court Judge Edgar yesterday said he believed it was Mr Loughran who orchestrated the confrontation, adding that he did not believe Mr Loughran's evidence that he was acting in self-defence. The judge said that Mr Loughran clearly knew how to inflict maximum damage with one punch, describing the punch as “professionally administered”.

Mr Loughran said: “I regret going out to Turkey, I will never go back there again. This has just been a horrible situation from start to finish. I haven’t a clue where the money is going to come from that I now owe, especially after losing all that money on the house in Turkey.”

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