My dear friends and supporters,
It is with great regret that I learned today that GYM has decided to cancel my fight against Enrico Koelling, notwithstanding repeated assurances that the fight would take place. This news comes right in the middle of my training camp and it is very upsetting. This is made worse by the grossly misleading report coming from GYM that the fight was cancelled because I could not get a visa to fight in the United States. The truth is that GYM refused to go ahead with the fight, notwithstanding the fact that all the necessary contracts have been signed, unless I dropped my lawsuit seeking a confirmation of the termination of our agreement. When I refused to do so, GYM made sure to pull the plug on the fight.
In order to properly set the record straight, I believe the following facts must be highlighted:
1. On May 18, 2017, I signed an IBF contract for the eliminator fight to be held in Québec City on July 29th, 2017 (a copy of that agreement is enclosed). I was subsequently advised by GYM that the date for the fight was changed to July 21st, but that the fight was still to be held in Québec City. It is for this reason that while Mr. Koelling also signed his agreement, it bears the date of July 21, 2017 (a copy of his signed agreement is also enclosed). As such, it was agreed by all that the fight would be held in Québec City;
2. All of the agreements have been signed, GYM gave the green light to my coach to invite sparring partners (one from the US and another from Europe) for the bout against Koelling, whose expenses I fully covered;
3. On May 30th, 2017, I applied to the American consulate in Montreal for a tourist visa to visit the United States with my family. The consulate officer refused to issue me a tourist visa on the grounds that I had entered the United States and fought against Alexander Johnson in Chicago on June 12, 2015 with a tourist visa. I was informed by the officer that such a visa was not appropriate to enter the United States for a fight. This came as a surprise to me because GYM, which was my promoter at that time, had represented to me that a tourist visa was perfectly appropriate for the circumstances;
4. In June 2017, without consulting me in any way, GYM indicated that the fight with Mr. Koelling would no longer be held in Quebec City, but rather in the United States, without being specific about the city or the date chosen for the fight. I was therefore placed in a situation where I had to scramble at the last minute to obtain a visa;
5. In order to obtain the appropriate visa, I was required to show a signed agreement for a fight in the United States. Notwithstanding multiple requests, I was never provided with same and as such could not obtain the proper visa;
6. Indeed, instead of helping me to get a business visa for my fight against Mr. Koelling, Mr. Yvon Michel asked my coach, Marc Ramsay, to convey me the following message: “If you want the fight, you must drop your lawsuit against GYM. If you refuse to work with GYM, the fight will not take place.” In other words, GYM attempted to pressure me into dropping my lawsuit and threatened retribution if I did not. When I refused to drop my lawsuit and give in to GYM’s demands, GYM decided to cancel the fight under the pretext that I could not get a visa;
7. To be clear, this fight was called off for one reason only: GYM again failing to fulfill its contractual obligations. It is only as a result of GYM’s failure to provide me with a signed contract for a US fight that I was unable to obtain the necessary visa;
The above has strengthened my conviction that GYM does not intend to honor its contractual agreements and that I don’t ever want to be associated with it again. The IBF will now hold a purse bid and I will happily participate in the fight wherever it is held. I promise you that GYM’s repeated failures to abide by their word and their agreements will not deter me. I will tirelessly continue working with my trainer and the rest of my team until my goal of becoming a world champion is achieved.
I thank you all for your attention and support!
Copies of contracts: