‘Worst sh**struggle I’ve ever seen’: NRL dangerous boy Matt Lodge caught up in ugly boxing scandal

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Roosters prop Matthew Lodge has been sensationally caught up in a Dubai boxing scandal the place Australian fighters had been robbed of their purses, left “on the road” and now looking for a promoter who has disappeared.

Solely months after making headlines as a possible opponent for Paul Gallen’s boxing farewell, Fox Sports activities Australia can reveal Lodge was set to as a substitute make his skilled debut in secret, and within the Center East, over the weekend.

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In a weird twist to his already controversial profession, the NRL dangerous boy was planning to compete on the undercard of an occasion involving a number of Aussie fighters — together with heavyweight Lucas Browne, tremendous featherweight contender Paul Fleming and Olympian Alex Winwood.

Nevertheless, the group are all now again residence in Australia – and in some instances, considerably out of pocket – following what one Aussie boxing supervisor described as “the worst sh**struggle I’ve ever seen”.

Solely days after the fighters, together with Lodge, touched down in Dubai, your complete occasion was referred to as off and promoter Andre Spencer of Iconic Promotions Dubai disappeared.

Other than reviews of fighters having to pay for their very own lodges, The Center East Skilled Boxing Fee additionally cited a string of security considerations for the occasion finally being referred to as off.

It’s understood Lodge flew his father, brother and supervisor to Dubai for the occasion that was set to be headlined by heavyweights Browne and Mahmoud Charr – each of whom have beforehand held the WBA ‘Common’ world title.

In current days, Browne had additionally posted Instagram movies exhibiting himself and the 27-year-old Roosters ahead sparring.

Along with his skilled boxing debut canned, the prop will now return to pre-season coaching.

But for the opposite Australians on the cardboard, strikes are already underway to get the fights rescheduled — doubtlessly on residence soil.

Interviewed following the cancellation, each Browne and Charr had been extraordinarily crucial of Iconic Promotions Dubai and Andre Spencer.

A livid Lou DiBella, who now promotes the Aussie heavyweight, branded the occasion an “organised rip-off”

Stated Charr: “(Spencer) didn’t make the struggle occur, he lied to all of us — the fighters, the promoters, the managers.

“And now, I come to this lodge, and a few of the fighters listed below are on the road as a result of the lodge was not paid …”

A kind of fighters with out a lodge room was Winwood, a promising Australian newbie who fought at each the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Commonwealth Video games. Solely final month, the breakout flyweight made his skilled debut, incomes a second spherical TKO.

But after arriving in Dubai, Winwood was compelled to share a room along with his coach Angelo Hyder and, in line with the coach, was not given even the day by day meals allowance that had been promised to him.

Fleming, too, stated he couldn’t consider the way in which issues had unfolded.

“I’ve by no means been concerned in something like this,” the fighter dubbed Showtime advised Fox Sports activities Australia shortly after arriving residence on Tuesday.

“Personally, it has additionally price me just a few thousand {dollars} from my Christmas fund.

“And I truly hear now that the promoter is on the run.”

As a part of his final push in the direction of a world title, 34-year-old Fleming was set to face world No. 1 IBF tremendous featherweight contender Samir Ziani.

A win over Ziani would seemingly have put the Aussie no a couple of extra win away from difficult IBF world champion Shavkat Rakhimov.

The cancellation means he’ll now attempt to have the struggle on residence soil.

Requested about Spencer, Fleming continued: “Picked me up from the airport and says ‘hey we’re shifting the struggle to Tuesday’.

“Then as soon as we obtained to the lodge issues obtained weirder.

“A couple of of the Australian guys had been already suss as a result of lodge rooms hadn’t been booked, issues like that.

“That was Wednesday.

“And by Friday, every part fell to items.

“He saved saying he was going to satisfy us however by no means did. He wouldn’t reply his telephone, then later would ship a message saying ‘yep, I’m coming’ … however he by no means confirmed.”

Fleming was additionally capable of make clear the ‘security’ points which noticed the occasion cancelled.

“As a result of my struggle was so huge, you want a sure (degree) of decide,” he stated. “However the correct judges weren’t there.

“Then we had been additionally imagined to have mind scans carried out.

“However (after they realised) there wasn’t sufficient days left to get the scans carried out and the outcomes again.

“Even after they had been going to place the struggle again a few days there wasn’t time.

“Initially, there had already been just a few query marks round the entire thing as a result of our (airline) tickets had been taking some time to reach – folks simply saved saying ‘they’ll be right here tomorrow’.

“However then as soon as Lucas obtained on a flight, all people thought ‘OK we’re on right here’.

“The promoter flew Lucas enterprise class.

“He even flew me enterprise class with Emirates.

“That’s an $11,000 ticket.

“It was one of many two good issues that occurred over there.”

And the opposite one?

“Acquired the very best Acai bowl I’ve ever had,” Fleming laughed.

Initially printed as ‘Worst sh**struggle I’ve ever seen’: NRL dangerous boy caught up in loopy Dubai boxing scandal

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