Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Menace and Muscle in Mob-Ruled Moscow

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Menace and Muscle in Mob-Ruled Moscow

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN GIBSON

WHAT unbelieving eyes witnessed was like a throwback to Al Capone's Chicago of the twenties when the mobster ruled a lawless city through terror and extortion.

Russia had just thrown off its cloak of Communism and cash now being king meant an open invite for gangsters and chancers to flood the big cities eager for easy pickings.

Moscow was to celebrate its 'liberation' in July of 1993 by staging its first ever professional world title fight with one-time IBF cruiserweight champion Glenn McCrory from our parts attempting to recapture his crown against American Alfred Cole.

I was one of the only hacks on the trip along with a TV crew when we flew into a grey, rainlashed lawless capital. All those Russians with ambitions to make a bundle had in the old days gone off to places like Miami in search of an illegal dollar, but the opening of a cash cow had them piling back into Moscow.

Boxing was an obvious attraction - it had been so on America's south coast for hard men of the Iron Curtain, of course - and very quickly a piece of ominous muscle from Chechnya announced his arrival in our hotel.

He inevitably spoke with an American accent after his selfimposed exile and told us "just call me Albert" which we did without question!

Albert insisted upon taking us who were part of the McCrory entourage round the city while our boy was tucked up in bed. Better to say yes and be safe than no and face possible danger.

Brother did he carry some clout.

One night upon entering a heaving night spot where he was viewed with a mixture of awe and trepidation he wanted us to have the best table in the house. So he simply walked down the front, lifted the steak plates of some unfortunates, and carried them to the back of the room where they were sat behind a pillar.

He took centre stage and waved for us to join him!

Even Glenn witnessed the Wild East (as opposed to the wild west) when he arrived at the plush Cherry Casino in downtown Moscow for the official weigh-in. …

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