The sportswashing of Daniel Kinahan by KHK Sports and MTK Global shows no signs of letting up. Yesterday KHK, an organization owned by Bahrain’s royal family, sent out a press release filled with glowing praise for the reported leader of the Kinahan Cartel; a $1 billion drug and arms smuggling ring that is currently engaged in a bloody gang war in Ireland.
Last month KHK announced Kinahan was joining their outfit as a ‘special advisor’. Kinahan has been living in the Middle East since 2016, after he survived an assassination attempt by the rival Hutch Gang. That shooting happened at an MTK boxing show’s weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin. The attack was in response to Kinahan killings of Hutch family members and a failed attempted assassination of Hutch Gang leader Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch in Lanzarote, Spain.
After KHK announced their Kinahan connection, rising boxing power-broker MTK Global announced a partnership with KHK. MTK, which represents Tyson Fury and Darren Till among many other combat sport athletes, was founded by Kinahan. However, since the Regency Hotel shooting MTK have claimed Kinahan was no longer involved with the company (despite evidence to the contrary).
Yesterday’s KHK release made no mention of Kinahan’s connection to organized crime. Instead it featured quotes from boxing luminaries, and top ranked UFC fighter Darren Till, singing Kinahan’s praises.
Till is quoted saying, “When I heard that Daniel Kinahan has been appointed as advisor to KHK, I thought wow what a huge move! It proves KHK want to make some serious impact...I am excited to see what will come out of the region in the near future, a true power alliance, I personally can’t wait to see what this brings...”
Till recently took a picture with Kinahan in Dubai and proclaimed he has had a long personal friendship with the mob boss.
Bob Arum, who has praised Kinahan in the past and admitted working with him as a facilitator between his Top Rank Promotions and MTK Global, is quoted saying; “We are very enthusiastic about putting events in Bahrain and making the country a worldwide tourist destination. We appreciate the work and effort of advisor Daniel Kinahan, who has dedicated himself to exploring the possibility of opening up this new market.”
Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren also talked up Kinahan’s ability to promote boxing in the middle east. “Through the effort, support and vision of His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and the team at KHK Sports and their advisor Daniel Kinahan, this will create fantastic opportunities for boxing and boxers. We look forward to working with everyone in the sport on this exciting new venture.”
Hall of Fame boxing Manager Shelly Finkel praised Kinahan, too. And in the process admitted to working with Kinahan in the past. “It’s been great working with Daniel thus far and I look forward to continuing this relationship and know that this summit is a great move for the industry.”
The press release then featured 18 more quotes from current and former fighters and their trainers.
MTK represented boxers Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan are both quoted, though their quotes are dedicated to discussing KHK and MTK’s planned Global Boxing Summit. Other boxing figures who are quoted discussing only KHK and the summit include former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan.
Former world champion Badou Jack is quoted talking up Kinahan and their personal relationship. “The appointment of Daniel Kinahan as an Advisor to KHK Sports speaks to me in volumes as it shows that KHK taking the growth and expansion of Boxing in the region very seriously. Aside from the tremendous knowledge and experience Daniel brings to the table, he’s a personal friend of mine and I see his integrity and character firsthand. He always puts fighters first and that’s rare in this sport. KHK couldn’t have chosen a better person to partner with.”
Perhaps of the strongest praise for Kinahan came from boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. “I’ve spent a lot of time with my friend Daniel Kinahan and whatI love about Daniel is that he is more concerned about the boxers than he is about anything else. I’ve very hard to find people in the business that think like this. Most people in the sport look at boxers like race dogs or race horses but not Daniel, he treats you like a boxer or as a friend, and sometimes even as his own kid so I think he’s a fantastic addition to the team at KHK Sports.”
The intent of these quotes, and KHK’s press release, was to promote their Global Boxing Summit that is scheduled to happen in Bahrain this autumn. Given that this release also appears to be focused on continuing to give Kinahan an image makeover, it will be interesting to see what role Kinahan takes at the summit and how visible that role is.