James Packer and David Gyngell punch and wrestle each other in Bondi


James Packer and David Gyngell punch and wrestle each other in Bondi - 5th May 2014
(Fairfax Media)

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James Packer David Gyngell Business Entertainment

A set of explosive photos showing billionaire gaming mogul James Packer embroiled in a vicious fist fight with his former best man and the head of Nine Entertainment Group David Gyngell have hit the market this morning.

The images were taken outside Packer's multimillion-dollar Bondi Beach home on Sunday afternoon, and show the pair in the midst of throwing and receiving punches.

The pair eventually fell to the ground and continued wrestling, before being forcibly separated by people who appeared to be Packer's bodyguards.

Gyngell was waiting outside Packer's house early on Sunday afternoon, sitting on the boot of his car for about 20 minutes as the casino mogul was chauffeured home after arriving aboard his private jet at Sydney Airport.

Witnesses said no pleasantries were exchanged when Packer saw Gyngell, but rather a flurry of profanities broke out before the pair were embroiled in a physical exchange as passers-by looked on in shock.

Both Packer and Gyngell retreated to their respective homes following the bust-up, and a short time later a person who appeared to be a medical professional attended Packer's home.
According to alleged witness claims, people were spotted looking for teeth outside Packer's home shortly following the exchange.

What the pictures show

There are more than 50 pictures in the set. They show the two men squaring off, tugging at each other's shirts and grappling before falling to the ground and wrestling.

Other men – possibly Packer's bodyguards – intervene while the fighters are upright as well as when they are on the ground.

Packer towers over the smaller Gyngell.

Packer is wearing a black baseball cap and sunglasses.

Gyngell is bearded, barefoot and wearing black tracksuit pants with a thick white stripe.
Both men are wearing blue or grey T-shirts.

A black car is in the background.

On the ground, Packer is on top and has Gyngell’s head in a grip. Gyngell’s bare feet are flailing.

One of the other men grabs Packer around the mouth.

Amid a scrum on the ground, Packer is eventually pulled off Gyngell and on to his feet. He has lost his sunglasses.

Packer, looking defiant, walks away, his lips clenched.

Gyngell looks shaken, his shoulders hunched.

Then a man – possibly a doctor, wearing a suit and without a tie – arrives carrying a case.

 

Gyngell at Packer house today

Gyngell and Packer later released joint a statement on the fight: "We have been friends for 35 years and still are. In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further."

About 10am today, Gyngell was seen leaving Packer's property, wearing a suit and looking less dishevelled than he did yesterday. His beard was gone, too.

Gyngell was later seen arriving at Channel Nine's offices in Willoughby and was described as "looking quite distressed, he certainly wasn't happy".

John Alexander, deputy chairman of Packer's Crown Holdings, arrived at Packer's house this morning.

Gyngell's wife Leila McKinnon is expected to give birth to their second child imminently.

Friendship soured

Sources close to both men told PS this morning that their life-long friendship soured soon after Packer and his second wife, Erica, announced their shock separation six months ago.

It is understood Gyngell confronted Packer about his decision to walk away from his seven-year marriage that had produced three children, an approach to which Packer did not react kindly.

Packer was seen in Los Angeles a fortnight ago greeting his ex-wife as he collected his children.
The exchange between the former spouses was described as "perfunctory" at best.

A year ago, a spokesman representing Gyngell told Fairfax Media that reports of a rift between the old friends were incorrect. However, Sunday's images would suggest otherwise.

Packer's rumoured new girlfriend, supermodel Miranda Kerr, flew back into Sydney on Friday.

Kerr said in an interview published on Sunday that Packer was a "friend", but close associates have described the pair as being romantically involved for several months.

A media bidding war is breaking out this morning for the rights to publish the images.

More to come

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