Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Conor McGregor spared Ladbrokes Coral a “bloody nose”, the bookmaker revealed today.
The blockbuster Las Vegas bout last weekend became the firm’s biggest betting event outside the Grand National.
Chief executive Jim Mullen said backing for McGregor “took us by surprise”, with wagers on the Irish martial arts fighter – untested in the boxing ring – outstripping those for veteran Mayweather.
He said Mayweather’s victory in the tenth round – securing his 50th undefeated fight – saved Ladbrokes from a “bloody nose”.
Mr Mullen said: “What we saw was a remarkable amount of money coming in on McGregor.
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“We had an athlete who hadn’t boxed since he was 14 boxing against a living legend.
“We found him becoming a significant liability – if he’d won in the fourth round, I would’ve been crying into my cornflakes.”
The group reported a 7% rise in operating profit to £158m for the six months to the end of June, driven by strong trading online.
Revenue rose 1% to £1.19bn.
The Mayweather-McGregor bout delivered a boost at the start of the second half of its financial year.
But the group – formed from the £2.3bn merger of Ladbrokes and Coral last November – said that the start of the football season would be the “crucial sporting action” for the period.