THE alleged boss of an Irish drugs cartel with Spanish links has been named as a key figure in negotiations for a Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua boxing clash.
Fury thanked Daniel Kinahan for helping set up what could be a two fight deal said to be worth up to £200 million for the undisputed heavyweight crown.
Kinahan – who has no criminal convictions – has long sought to break into the boxing promotion business. He is thought to have put the money up to open the Macklin Gym Marbella (MGM) in 2012 with former Irish, British and European Middleweight Champion Matthew Macklin.
There is no suggestion Macklin has been involved in any criminal activity.
Its Puerto Banus location was a good fit for Kinahan, who lived in a luxury villa just down the road in Estepona. He now lives in Dubai. He is the son of Irish underworld kingpin Christy Kinahan, known as ‘the dapper don.’
MGM quickly started to build a stable of top boxing talent and rapidly expanded its operations internationally
The gym even attracted top sports stars including Frank Bruno and Graeme Souness to promotions, raising its profile in the boxing world.
But it was not long before its criminal connections started to put MGM in the press for the wrong reasons.
A vicious Dublin turf war between rival drugs gangs spilled over into Spain, bringing bloodshed with it.
In 2014 Jamie Moore, a former European boxing champion and Sky boxing pundit, was shot outside Kinahan’s villa. Only a miracle allowed the athlete, who was training at MGM, to come out alive.
But that was just a sample of what was to come. Soon afterwards Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh, the fearsome Kinahan debt collector, was killed.
Two hitmen dressed in black gunned him down with multiple shots as he sat outside Harmons pub in Elviria on the Costa del Sol.
The gunmen had calmly walked up and cold-bloodedly executed him, finishing him off with a shot to the head.
His son Jamie was at the time one of the most promising fighters at MGM.
The spiral of violence continued and culminated in a chilling incident at a promotion at The Regency hotel In Dublin.
A boxing match for the WBO European Lightweight title between Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio João was marred by violence. At the weigh-in four masked gunmen burst in wearing army style-helmets and flak jackets, two of whom were disguised as members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit.
Police said Daniel Kinahan was the target, but he escaped as associate David Byrne died in the incident.
Soon after, MGM was taken over by Sandra Vaughan, who is not involved in any criminal activity, and renamed MTK as it tried to distance itself from criminal links.
Now Kinahan – who was named as the alleged leader of the Kinahan criminal organisation in an Irish police affidavit to Dublin’s High Cort – has resurfaced at the pinnacle of the boxing promotion game.
While Fury thanked him for his part in putting the match together, Irish PM Leo Varadkar is not so impressed.
He has urged that the fight be boycotted, saying: “I think it’s not a decision for me but I think it would be entirely appropriate for sports organisations and media organisations to have nothing to do with this. Maybe they don’t know the facts or they don’t know the truth but they need to know them. And I wouldn’t like to see them giving it any attention at all given the circumstances.”
Minister of State for Sport Brendan Griffin has asked officials to draft letters to his UK counterpart and to Sky and BT Sport expressing the government’s “outrage about this matter”.
“The danger is that the reputation of Irish boxing may be tarnished by this incident. That is grossly unfair to the large number of people who do great work. It is important to emphasise that,” Griffin said.