Belfast Telegraph

Boxer Steve Collins told me he'd break my head -- then hit me, court is told

By Jason O'Brien

Former world champion boxer Steve Collins told a doorman denying him entry to a boxing arena that he would "break his head and put his teeth on the floor" seconds before striking him, a court in the Republic heard yesterday.

Mr Collins was trying to get back to the RTE studio in the National Boxing Arena, where he was working as a commentator on June 3, 2006.

But the doorman, Albanian national Adriatik Vodo (39), stopped him, asking to see his accreditation to use the VIP/media entrance before the incident allegedly occurred.

Mr Collins has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm.

"He said: 'Do you know about my name?'" Mr Vodo told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. "I said, 'I don't know about your name'."

Mr Vodo said he pushed Mr Collins (46) back as he tried to get through, telling him to relax and to show him the pass, but Mr Collins replied: "F**k you and your f***ing door."

Mr Vodo continued: "He said: 'In two seconds if you don't move from that door I'll break your head and I'll put your teeth on the floor. Then you'll know about my name'."

Mr Vodo said he offered to radio for someone else to help, but Mr Collins told him his two seconds were up and struck him "straight away in the teeth".

Mr Collins is a former WBO world middleweight and super middleweight champion.

Mr Vodo said the punch was "like an electric shock" and he was left "in shock" for a couple of seconds with blood pouring from his mouth. He said Mr Collins got medical attention for his hand before returning 10 minutes later saying, "I'm not finished with you. I'll be back to you again".

In later evidence, Mr Vodo, who now works as a taxi driver, said Mr Collins approached him an hour later at a different entrance, telling him to jump in his car so the pair could "finish this tonight" -- an offer Mr Vodo refused.

"He said: 'Who will pay for my hand?'" Mr Vodo told the jury. "I said, 'The person who broke my front teeth will pay for your hand'."

Mr Vodo's boss on the night, Sean Jordan, arrived on the scene to calm the situation, with Mr Collins offering an apology to Mr Vodo before being allowed to enter the arena. In later evidence, Mr Jordan also said he arrived at the scene moments after the alleged assault and Mr Collins "reminded me very much of a caged tiger" with a "very nasty cut to one of his hands".

Defence counsel Patrick Purcell asked Mr Jordan if he had to restrain him. "I wouldn't put a hand near him, he's a world champion," he replied.

Mr Jordan said he had given Mr Vodo strict instructions not to allow anyone without a pass through that entrance, although he admitted he would have let the former champ through.

Mr Purcell said Mr Collins would argue he was upset because he couldn't fulfil contractual obligations with RTE, and would give evidence that he was never given accreditation and had been through the media entrance a number of times before being stopped by Mr Vodo. He would also give evidence that he got his injury blocking Mr Vodo as he lunged at him.

The case continues before Judge Tony Hunt and is expected to last three or four days.

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