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Bus driver attack boxer trained at Kinahan gym but is pal of The Monk

Anthony Fitzgerald
Anthony Fitzgerald

A FORMER professional boxer who pleaded guilty this week to breaking a bus driver’s nose was a close pal of gangland murder victims Gary and Gareth Hutch, who were killed in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

However, Anthony Fitzgerald (32), who was at the Regency Hotel boxing weigh-in when gangster David Byrne was shot dead, had been training at Daniel Kinahan’s MGM gym before the bloody Hutch/Kinahan feud erupted.

Fitzgerald, who has no involvement in organised crime, fled from the Regency Hotel with family members in the aftermath of the gun attack.

Within days of the shocking incident, Fitzgerald – who was known in the ring as ‘Pride of Dublin’ – announced his retirement from boxing.

He would later be a prominent mourner at the funerals off feud victims Eddie Hutch Snr and Gareth Hutch.

 It later emerged that father-of-two Fitzgerald was a co-owner of the Sunset House pub in Summerhill, which was the location where another feud victim –dissident Republican Michael Barr – was shot dead in April.

It is understood that Fitzgerald is a cousin of slain Gary Hutch, whose murder last September sparked the capital’s deadly gang feud which has now claimed nine lives. He has also been on friendly terms with on the-run senior crime figure Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.

 In fact, Fitzgerald learned to box at The Monk’s gym in Dublin’s north inner city.

Fitzgerald, who is from Gloucester Place in the capital’s north inner city, has 31 previous convictions including assault, criminal damage and two firearms and offensive weapons offences.

He has 23 road traffic offence convictions and was disqualified from driving for 10 years.

He appeared before Dublin Circuit Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Toufik Slali on North Circular Road, on November 18, 2014.

The victim was driving to a school when a Mini pulled out in front of him with no signal, Garda Robert Tomkin told the court.

The bus driver had to brake hard and beeped his horn.

Fitzgerald jumped out from the driver’s side of the car and started shouting that his children were in the car.

When the driver didn’t respond the accused got on to the bus and told Mr Slali: “You f ***ing foreigner, talk to me when I speak to you.”

The victim said that Fitzgerald then head butted him on the nose and he fell back into a seat.

The victim said that Fitzgerald then punched him.  

Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe BL, defending, said his client disputed this version of events.

He said Fitzgerald denied head butting or punching him but admitted striking the victim with an open hand.

Judge Melanie Greally said the use of the palm to administer a blow was of a different degree than it would be if Fitzgerald were not a professional boxer.

She said given this fact, whether he inflicted the injuries using his hand or a head-butt would have little effect on her sentence.

She said she would impose sentence next November.

The victim experienced ongoing dizziness, blurred vision and headaches after the attack.

A fracture of his nasal bone was fixed in surgery.  

Mr O’Keeffe said Fitzgerald told gardai that he saw something in the victim’s hand and believed he was going to hit him so he attacked first.

Fitzgerald was a popular boxer and during his seven-year career, he had a record of 18 wins and eight losses.

He went the distance with former world champions Andy Lee and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in 2013.

Fitzgerald won the Irish title, the World Boxing Federation Intercontinental title and the now-extinct European Boxing Association title during his career.

His last fight was a loss on points to Adam Jones at Villa Park in Birmingham.