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Tyson Fury thanked Daniel Kinahan for helping to broker a fight with Anthony Joshua. PA
Boxing

Leo Varadkar says organisations should ignore Fury-Joshua boxing match involving Daniel Kinahan

BT Sport says it is ‘not currently involved in the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua negotiations’.

LAST UPDATE | 12 Jun 2020

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that sports and media organisations should “have nothing to do with” a boxing match involving Daniel Kinahan.

Varadkar said yesterday that there has been contact between Ireland and the United Arab Emirates about Dubai-based Kinahan but today refused to give further details on the nature of that contact. 

The controversy comes following Kinahan’s involvement in arranging a high-profile boxing match series between heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Kinahan reportedly played a key role in brokering the bout, with Fury personally name-checking the Dubliner in a video announcing that a deal had been reached earlier this week.

The namedrop is another sign of Kinahan’s attempt to become a major figure in the business of professional boxing. Kinahan has no criminal convictions but he was named in a High Court affidavit as being the controller of an international drug cartel.

Speaking today, Varadkar said that authorities in the UAE “know our concerns and our problems with it”.

He added:

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 told the Dáil yesterday evening that Kinahan’s role in the event was “completely unacceptable” and he 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.

We are taking this very seriously. We are absolutely appalled by this link.

A BT Sport spokesperson said today that the broadcaster “is not currently involved in the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua negotiations”.

They added:

Our broadcast agreement for the fights of Tyson Fury is exclusively with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. We have had no dealings with MTK or any of their representatives for this fight. BT reviews all sports rights and broadcast deals with the appropriate levels of responsibility and scrutiny before deciding on a course of action. We cannot comment further on a potential fight which to the best of our knowledge is not confirmed, and which has not been offered to us.

Kinahan was the founder of boxing management company MGM Boxing which subsequently rebranded as MTK Global and said it had cut ties with Kinahan.

Further criticism 

Sports minister Shane Ross repeated the condemnation of Kinahan’s apparent involvement in the money-spinning fight, saying it would be “absolutely wrong and tragic” for boxing clubs and volunteers in Ireland “if their name was sullied by activities which are completely and utterly unacceptable”.

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan, implored Fury, Joshua, Sky Sports and the other players involved in arranging the fight to “inform themselves about the Kinahan criminal organisation”.

“They cannot just hide from those facts because there is a great deal of money to be made,” he said.

The lives of people in inner-city Dublin, which have been decimated by the Kinahan criminal organisation, deserve to be recognised by the other people involved in the fight. The victims of killings by the criminal organisation also need to be aware of it. 
- With reporting by Rónán Duffy and Fintan O’Toole


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