Quebec boxing promoter says he didn't invite criminal bikers in ringside seats

MONTREAL — Quebec boxing promoter Yvon Michel says he doesn't know the criminal bikers who showed up at one of his events last September and he never gave any of them tickets.

Michel testified before a tribunal Wednesday, defending himself against accusations related to two of his boxing cards from 2019, including claims he fixed a bout and hosted members of the Hells Angels in reserved ringside seats.

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The tickets were available for sale online from a third party or directly from the venue, he told the administrative tribunal of the provincial authority that oversees combat sports.

During the first day of hearings on Tuesday, police witnesses told the tribunal 10 people tied to the Hells Angels were seen at the Sept. 20 bout.

There was no testimony that Michel interacted with the bikers at the event.

The promoter told the tribunal the allegations have harmed his reputation.

"I know who the Hells Angels are, in general," Michel testified. "These people, if they are guilty of something, they should be put in prison. But if they are free to come and go as they please, I would be put in an extremely difficult position if I had to filter who bought tickets."

Michel also strongly rejected the claim he fixed a match.

"It's really hard," he said. "I built my credibility over the years. I have contracts with the biggest promoters in the world. What was said, was that Yvon mixes with organized crime and fixed bouts. People started asking questions."

The fight that was allegedly fixed was held for charity, featuring former strongman Hugo Girard and fighter Patrick Cote. He said the profits of $5,000 were given to an organization that helps athletes with disabilities.

Michel said the event was "very far" from being fixed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2020.

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