THE MTK Marbella boxing gym, which was originally co-funded by Irish gang boss Daniel Kinahan will not reopen after its coronavirus lockdown.
Opened by former Irish, British and European champion Matthew Macklin – who has no link to criminality – in 2013 it was originally called MGM (Macklin’s Gym Marbella).
Initially it brought a lot of welcome attention to the Costa del Sol city with sportsmen of the stature of Frank Bruno and Graeme Souness attending events.
But that attention turned sour when it was revealed that one of the ‘investors’ was Kinahan, son of one of the most feared gangland bosses in Dublin, Christy Kinahan, known as the Dapper Don.
Daniel Kinahan, who now lives in Dubai having previously lived in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, is said by Irish police to have taken over the gang after his father retired. There is no suggestion that any of the gym’s celebrity visitors knew of any underworld links.
A spate of shootings on the Costa del Sol involving people linked to the Kinahans and arch rivals the Hutch gang attracted police attention.
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.
Spain’s Guardia Civil and observers from the Irish Gardai raided the Puerto Banus gym in 2016 as part of an international operation against the Kinahan gang.
MGM was renamed MTK Marbella and taken under new management in 2017, with links to Kinahan being severed.
Yesterday parent group MTK Global group announced it was closing the Marbella operation down, saying it “will not be reopening after the Covid-19 restrictions.
“We want to thank everyone who has been a part of our family over the past eight years and shared in our incredible journey.”
The statement added: “Whilst the doors remain closed, the memories will last a lifetime.”
Kinahan was instrumental in brokering a two fight, £200million deal between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts in the history of the sport.
Fury praised Kinahan for his role in arranging the highly lucrative fight, leading to a fierce backlash.
Fury’s boxing promoter Bob Arum said he had discussed the matter with Fury and decided Arum and his company Top Rank Boxing will handle future negotiations
“Over the weekend I’ve had a lot of conversations with Tyson Fury and what we both decided is that myself, Top Rank and Fury will do all negotiations for fights in the future.”