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Irish politician fears ‘toxic’ influence of ‘drug lord’ Daniel Kinahan in proposed Katie Taylor vs. Natasha Jonas fight

Neale Richmond doesn’t want to see Katie Taylor boxing an MTK fighter in Ireland.

Katie Taylor v Christina Linardatou - WBO World Super-Lightweight Championship Title Fight Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor is currently looking for her next opponent. According to Eddie Hearn, a possible match-up for Taylor is Natasha Jonas. Hearn said Taylor vs. Jonas could happen in April and be in Taylor’s native Ireland.

However, those plans have been met with a stern warning from a Dublin based politician.

According to Sunday World Neale Richmond, Teachta Dála for Dublin Rathdown, has claimed that such a fight should not happen in Ireland because of the potential ‘toxic’ influence of Daniel Kinahan.

Irish courts, politicians and media outlets name Kinahan as the leader of what authorities have called the Kinahan Organised Crime Group. The KOCG is accused of operating Ireland’s largest narcotic smuggling ring. The KOCG is also accused of conducting business in mainland Europe, South America, North Africa and Oceania.

Kinahan founded what would become MTK Global, which is currently one of the most powerful groups in world boxing. MTK manages Natasha Jonas, along with Tyson Fury, Michael Conlan, Carl Frampton, Billy Joe Saunders and Darren Till.

Despite MTK claiming Kinahan has not been involved with the company for the past several years, in 2020 Fury thanked Kinahan for his work negotiating a deal for him to fight Anthony Joshua. It was later revealed that Kinahan had been guiding the career of Fury for the past couple of years.

Since that news broke, the Irish government has pressured boxing broadcasters to boycott any Fury vs. Joshua fights over Kinahan’s involvement. Ireland has also contacted their counter parts in the United Arab Emirates, where Kinahan is believed to be located, about Kinahan and the crimes he is accused of.

Katie Taylor, one of world boxing’s brightest stars, is not affiliated with MTK, but Richmond believes her fighting an MTK fighter on Irish soil would not be good idea.

“Katie Taylor is a hero to many of us and it would be wonderful to see her fighting in Ireland. However, as with everything at the moment in boxing, the involvement of MTK raises serious concerns. Given that Natasha Jonas is an MTK fighter, how can we be sure that this match won’t be brought about under the influence of the toxic Daniel Kinahan?”

“Any involvement of this drug lord who is actively trying to sportswash his real criminal self must be called out and prevented,” continued Richmond. “There is still no clear separation between MTK and Kinahan. Until there is, any fight involving an MTK fight must be met with hard scepticism.”

In 2016 the violence associated with the KOCG spilled over into the world of boxing when armed gunmen attacked an MTK boxing show weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin. That shooting resulted in the death of David Byrne, who was suspected of being a high ranking member of the KOCG. However, it is believed Daniel Kinahan was the intended target of the attack.

That shooting was part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud, which has seen over a dozen people killed in targeted shootings across Ireland and Spain. That feud reportedly began in 2015 when Gary Hutch, an alleged former Kinahan operative, was killed by other Kinahan members. Hutch was the nephew of Gerry Hutch, alleged leader of the Hutch Gang.