Thursday 14 December 2017

'Irish boxer' who took on Turkish mob in viral video facing 9 years in prison

He tells judge he was not a boxer, “just a Mike Tyson fan”

Meadhbh McGrath

An Irish national who became a viral sensation after taking on a mob of Turkish shopkeepers in Istanbul last summer could face up to nine years in prison for grievous bodily harm.

Mohammed Fadel Dobbous was nicknamed ‘the Irish Boxer’ after CCTV footage emerged showing him knocking out the shopkeepers one by one during a street brawl in August 2015.

The video shows the Kuwaiti-born Dobbous attempting to retrieve a bottle of water from the fridge of a corner store in the Aksaray neighbourhood before accidentally knocking over all of the bottles.

The owner of the shop can be seen confronting Dobbous with a wooden stick. He is then joined by a group of men brandishing poles and plastic stools, which Dobbous skilfully evades while delivering a series of blows.

After the video surfaced online, Dobbous was arrested by police and charged with assault and grievous bodily harm.

Earlier this week, he denied the charges at the Palace of Justice in Istanbul, telling judges he was not a boxer, “just a Mike Tyson fan”.

Dobbous claimed the fight had been a misunderstanding - local  website has reported

According to Dobbous, a shopkeeper attacked him after he apparently broke a fridge while trying to take out a bottle of water.

“When the bottles fell, the man in the shop tried to hit me with a stick. I grabbed it and threw it away,” he told the court.

“I was confused. Then, others came at me. I don’t remember their faces. One man tried to stab me in the back.

“I knew I would be done if I fell while they were attacking me.”

However, in the case reported by Daily Sabah, shopkeeper Senol Palan argued that Dobbous had become aggressive after he told Dobbous’ friends that the shop did not sell alcoholic drinks.

He said the accused threatened him and deliberately pulled off the fridge door.

Judges have adjourned the case to allow time for expert examination of the CCTV footage.

When the video emerged, Dobbous became an overnight sensation, as social media users from both Ireland and Turkey praised him as a hero.

As well as receiving offers of free holidays from Turkish tourism companies (and even a marriage proposal), he was honoured in a Turkish video game called “Irish Boxer”, in which the main character must face a series of opponents armed with poles and stools.

Prosecutors have also demanded jail sentences ranging from five to seven years for three shopkeepers allegedly involved in the brawl.

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