Last weekend in Glasgow Josh Taylor defended his junior welterweight title against Jack Catterall by split decision. The decision shocked many onlookers, who couldn’t believe that two judges would score the fight for the hometown fighter Taylor.
The British Boxing Board of Control has since launched an investigation into the judges’ scorecards for the fight. Referee Marcus McDonnell has also been criticized for his performance on the night. He deducted a point from both fighters for various infractions, which have been viewed as extremely harsh by boxing pundits.
The involvement of Daniel Kinahan has added another layer of controversy to the fight. Both Taylor and Catterall are represented by MTK Global. Daniel Kinahan, who Irish courts, politicians and press outlets call the leader of a billion dollar narcotics smuggling ring known as the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, co-founded MTK.
Despite MTK claiming Kinahan is no longer involved in the company, many of that company’s top talent—including Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders and Darren Till often cite Kinahan as a close personal friend and ‘advisor’.
Taylor has previously spoken about his relationship with Kinahan and called him a “great advisor”.
After the controversial ending to Taylor vs. Catterall, MTK released a statement asking that personal attacks against those fighters end. That statement reads:
Following the Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall fight on Saturday, MTK Global is saddened and deeply concerned to learn of insults, personal attacks and even death threats targeting the fighters, their partners and their families. This has to stop immediately.
Boxing has always been a sport that unites communities and supports one another and regardless of Saturday night’s outcome, both Josh and Jack respect each other as men, as athletes and as fans of the sport they have dedicated their lives to. Not only have they endured sacrifice and gruelling training camps away from their families and partners in the lead up to this bout, but their families have sacrificed for the sport too and we ask the public, and the boxing community to respect that and offer their support instead of fuelling an already extremely emotional situation.
We ask you to remember that, no matter what the fighters, their teams, their peers, or fight fans believe the result should have been, the decision was not in their hands, but lay in the hands of judging officials and it is our understanding the British Boxing Board of Control are now conducting their own investigation, which we fully encourage.
We have always been honoured to work with both Josh and Jack and are immensely proud of all that they have achieved over the years, both entering the ring as undefeated fighters and showing the world what home grown talent Scotland and England have to offer, and the fans who flocked in their droves to witness the very first UK undisputed fight in the history of boxing.
MTK Global has always been a family and we ask you to support our family and their families as they look forward to what we know is going to be an incredible rematch in the very near future.
The fight has also prompted a rare statement from Kinahan (per DublinLive). That came after Kinahan’s involvement with both parties was discussed on the Fight Disciples Podcast. The hosts of that show had raised concerns about whether Kinahan’s involvement in the fight had somehow lead to the outcome.
Kinahan’s response to those claims was later read out on the podcast. The statement was passed to the podcast through a fighter who acted as intermediary and whose name was withheld.
Here’s what Kinahan had to say:
“Where unethical and corrupt practice exists, it’s important to expose it. Some people have made serious allegations about my involvement in Saturday’s fight. That is why I am happy to invite scrutiny. I’ve nothing to hide. I’ll answer any questions asked of me and it is incumbent on others – advisors, managers, promoters, trainers and fighters – to do the same. Boxing needs to change and I want to play my part in safeguarding the future of the sport. We need greater transparency to ensure fairness for fighters and respect for fans.”
Irish politician Neale Richmond, who has advocated for a closer look into Kinahan’s involvement in boxing, scoffed at Kinahan’s statement. He told the Irish Mirror, “The fact Daniel Kinahan claims to have nothing to hide and wants to safeguard the future of the sport is utterly galling.
“He is running and hiding from his past. As opposed to safeguarding the sport, any involvement of Daniel Kinahan jeopardizes its very future.”
Kinahan moved to Dubai shortly after the Regency Hotel Shooting in Dublin in 2016. That shooting targeted an MTK (then known as MGM) boxing weigh-in show and lead to the death of David Byrne.
It is alleged that Kinahan was the intended target of that attack and that it was a reprisal for the killings of members of the so-called Hutch Gang. The Hutch-Kinahan feud has lead to at least 18 deaths and began when Gary Hutch, nephew of alleged Hutch Gang leader Gerry Hutch, was killed by suspected Kinahan members in Spain.
Gerry Hutch is currently in jail awaiting trial for his involvement in the Regency Hotel Shooting.
Kinahan’s comfort in the middle east might be under threat. Recently the UAE’s director general of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Hamid Al Zaabi was asked about Kinahan during a rare interview.
Al Zaabi said he could not comment on specific cases, but claimed that his government was “using all available resources to investigate and prosecute anyone engaged” in money laundering (per Independent.ie).