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Boxer Magee to appeal conviction for assault in club

Eamonn Magee

Fomer world boxing champion Eamonn Magee is to launch an appeal after he was convicted of headbutting a man at a GAA social club.

A judge ruled that Magee (38) carried out an “unjustified” assault after being told to leave premises from which he was barred.

His victim Kevin McLaughlin was attacked after asking Magee to leave the Ardoyne Kickhams club in Belfast last August.

The ex-WBU welterweight title holder, of Eskdale Gardens in the city, will be sentenced next month.

But speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Magee said he intends to launch an appeal.

“I’m absolutely disgusted with the verdict,” he said. “I can’t believe I was found guilty on one man’s evidence.

“It’s going straight to the appeal court,” he said.

He added: “Also, there must have been 15 men in that club who saw what happened, and not one came forward and made a statement to police.”

Mr McLaughlin told Belfast Magistrates Court he had been attacked after asking Magee to leave the club.

“That's when he headbutted me. He hit me on the nose, once,” said Mr McLaughlin.

“I was stunned, I went back a bit and put my hands up. The next thing he was ducking and diving out of the road.

“He busted my nose open. There was quite a lot of blood, people came with towels to try and stem the blood flow.”

Mr McLaughlin denied claims that he was drunk and shoved Magee three times before the attack.

Declan Quinn, defending, put it to him: “If Eamonn Magee had fully headbutted you, you might expect a more serious injury than a 1cm cut to the bridge of your nose. This guy is a professional boxer. He's a world champion.”

However, Mr McLaughlin responded: “But he doesn't use his head in boxing.”

Magee, known as The Terminator during a professional career which included 33 fights, claimed in court he was attacked by up to 15 people after being confronted at the club.

He said he only went there to tell his ex-partner that he had made a discovery about his bank account.

Bouncers twice gave him permission to enter briefly for this purpose, with the encounter taking place on his second trip, the court heard.

Although the ex-fighter described Mr McLaughlin as a “gentleman” and generous when sober, the boxer claimed on this occasion he was slurring his words and struggling to stand steady.

Magee said: “He pushed me three times. By the third push he was literally inches away from me. My first reaction was to touch him with my head on the nose.” He claimed Mr McLaughlin then threw up to eight punches at him, causing him to duck and weave to avoid them.

The former champion insisted he was in a good mood when he went into the club, and claimed to have then feared he was about to be hit by the victim.

Magee also alleged a crowd of people then attacked him, adding: “Only for the security that night God knows what would have happened to me.”

But convicting Magee of assault, District Judge Ken Nixon ruled: “I'm satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that this was an unjustified headbutt with force.”

Belfast Telegraph