Recently the BBC aired an investigative piece titled ‘Boxing and the Mob’, which examined the ties between the sport of boxing and Daniel Kinahan; a man who is accused by Irish courts, politicians and media of controlling a $1 billion drug empire.
In response to this Kinahan, who is thought to reside in Dubai, released a rare public statement, rebuking claims made by the BBC. In that statement Kinahan also rejected inferences that he was responsible for a threat against the life of one of the journalists involved in the program.
‘Boxing and the Mob’ claimed that Kinahan remains a central figure in MTK Global, a company he founded in 2005 (as Macklin’s Gym Marbella). Around 2016, after an MGM weigh-in show in Dublin was attacked by gunmen, MTK began claiming Kinahan was no longer involved with the company.
In recent years MTK has risen to be one of the most powerful entities in world boxing, signing deals with Bob Arum’s Top Rank and ESPN+ and representing stars like Tyson Fury, Michael Conlan, Carl Frampton and Billy Joe Saunders. MTK’s MMA division has also grown and now represents a slew of UFC talent including Darren Till, Mounir Lazzez, Talia Santos and Dusko Todorovic.
Despite MTK’s claims that they do not work with Kinahan, a number of MTK fighters have come out in support of Kinahan, citing his work as an ‘advisor’ over their careers.
One of the latest MTK clients to do this is Josh Taylor, the reigning WBA (Super), IBF and Ring magazine light-welterweight champion. The 17-0 Scotsman took to Twitter to respond to another MTK fighter—undefeated bantamweight prospect Lee McGregor—to sing Kinahan’s praises.
100% Lee. He’s a great advisor and doing great things for the sport. I would never have had the deal with With Top Rank if it wasn’t for Daniel and he is also working on the best deal possible for the biggest fight of my life. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with him.— Josh Taylor (@JoshTaylorBoxer) February 12, 2021
“Daniel has done nothing but good things for me in my life and no lies or false promises anything he’s said he’s delivered above and beyond every single time,” wrote McGregor in his original post. “So hard not to go into depth about it all but I can honestly say hand on heart Daniel has and will continue to do nothing but good for the sport of boxing!”
“This man is more than just a boxing advisor to me and many other fighters,” added McGregor.
Taylor replied with, “[Kinahan is] a great advisor and doing great things for the sport. I would never have had the deal with With Top Rank if it wasn’t for Daniel and he is also working on the best deal possible for the biggest fight of my life. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with him.”
The British Boxing Board of Control have previously stated that they have no purview over people who call themselves ‘advisors’ to boxers and who are not licensed managers and promoters.
Kinahan’s influence at the highest level of professional boxing was never more noticeable than last year, when Tyson Fury publicly thanked him for negotiating his deal to fight Anthony Joshua.
After this announcement Irish politicians expressed their outrage over the involvement of Kinahan in what will be the biggest fight in British boxing history. Since then Fury has stated he would no longer work with Kinahan. Kinahan was also dropped from his advisory role with Bahrain-based KHK Sports.
In addition to accusations that he is responsible for trafficking narcotics throughout Ireland, mainland Europe, North Africa and Oceania, Kinahan is also suspected of instigating multiple gangland hits against the Hutch Gang.
The Kinahan-Hutch feud started in 2015 when Gary Hutch, nephew of alleged Hutch Gang leader Gerry Hutch, was killed in southern Spain by suspected Kinahan associates. Since then the feud has resulted in at least 17 more killings.