Two women accusing former boxer George Foreman of sexually abusing them when they were children spoke publicly about their allegations Tuesday.
Gwen Hunter and Denise Shipes are suing Foreman, alleging he groomed them when they were girls as young as nine years old and eventually forced them to have sex when they were barely teenagers.
Hunter says she had just turned 14-years-old when the former heavyweight boxing champion started having sex with her.
"Forman regularly abused me until I was about 16 years old," Hunter said at a news conference held by her attorney, Samuel Dordulian. "He asked me to remove my clothes and told me if I didn't, my father would be fired."
Hunter's father worked for Foreman as a manager in the 1970s when the two women say the child sexual abuse occurred. Shipes father worked as Foreman's trainer at the same time.
"He laid on top of me and had sexual intercourse with me," Shipes said, telling reporters she was just 15 years old at the time.
Both women say Foreman told them not to tell anyone about their relationships.
Foreman, who is widely known outside the boxing world as the man behind the George Foreman Grill, issued a written statement this week, accusing the two women of extortion.
"Over the past six months, two women have been trying to extort millions of dollars each from me and my family. They are falsely claiming that I sexually abused them over 45 years ago in the 1970s. I adamantly and categorically deny these allegations. The pride I take in my reputation means as much to me as my sports accomplishments, and I will not be intimidated by baseless threats and lies. I am, and always will be, guided by my faith and trust in God. I will work with my lawyers to fully and truthfully expose my accusers' scheme and defend myself in court. I don't pick fights, but I don't run away from them either."
But Dordulian says it was Foreman's camp that suggested mediation between the 73-year-old and Hunter and Shipes.
"They invited us to meet with them, to negotiate with them," he said. "This whole claim of extortion is completely bogus. It's an attempt for him to take the narrative away from these two brave women."
Foreman hired attorney Shawn Holley to represent him and she held a news conference Tuesday as well, calling the women's allegations 'nonsensical." She says she encouraged Foreman to enter mediation with the women to avoid the public spotlight, but that he did not want to negotiate.
"It was a tremendous waste of time because he truly was not willing to pay them any amount of money, none whatsoever," Holley said. "And I will tell you that he was angry with me for even suggesting it."
Holley says the two women were demanding $25 million, but Dordulian is calling that an unfair characterization of the negotiations. He says it is common practice to start mediation high and to settle on a much lower amount of damages. Dordulian says a fair settlement would be closer to $5 million for each woman.