Daniel Kinahan denies threatening journalist’s life after BBC report on MTK and organized crime

Last week the BBC aired a special investigation titled ‘Boxing and the Mob’. That programme discussed MTK Global, a boxing promoter and management company…

By: Tim Bissell | 2 years ago
Daniel Kinahan denies threatening journalist’s life after BBC report on MTK and organized crime
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Last week the BBC aired a special investigation titled ‘Boxing and the Mob’. That programme discussed MTK Global, a boxing promoter and management company that represents Tyson Fury, Carl Frampton, Michael Conlan and Billy Joe Saunders among many other boxers. MTK also has an MMA division, which includes among its roster UFC fighters Darren Till, Mounir Lazzez, Su Mudaerrji, Dusko Todorovic and Talia Santos.

MTK was founded by Daniel Kinahan, a man who Irish media, politicians and courts, accuse of being a crime boss in charge of an entity known as the Kinahan Organised Crime Group. The KOCG is accused of being Ireland’s largest narcotic traffickers with operations in Europe, North Africa and Oceania. The KOCG is also reportedly responsible for dozens of gangland killings, many of which are connected to the ongoing Hutch-Kinahan feud.

Boxing and the Mob disputed MTK claims that Kinahan stopped working with the company in 2016. That documentary claimed, based on interviews from boxing insiders, that Kinahan is a central figure at MTK; a company that is now one of the most powerful brokers in world boxing.

After the documentary aired it was reported that one of its producers had to be moved, along with their family, to a secure location. That action, taken by the Police Services of Northern Ireland, was in response to a credible threat against the producer’s life.

Daniel Kinahan has released a rare public statement claiming he had nothing to do with any threats against journalists. The lengthy statement, which was released to talkSport is presented below:

“I have tried my best to ignore the allegations that are constantly made about me. I have dedicated myself to my work in boxing for over 15 years.

“I have started from the bottom and worked my way up. I am proud to say today that I have helped organise over a dozen major world title fights. I continue to be involved in planning multiple record-breaking and exciting world title fights: I’m doing all I can to give fight fans around the world the fights they want.

“My professional commitment is always to the boxers, those who take the ultimate risk.

“I’m Irish. I was born and raised in Dublin. In a deprived area with serious levels of poverty, of crime, of under investment. People like me, from there, aren’t expected to do anything with their lives other than serve the middle and upper classes. Boxing is a working class sport for which I’ve had a lifelong love and passion.

“I love the sport of boxing but didn’t love how business was done. Many boxers have similar backgrounds to me. I got into boxing to make sure that boxers get fairly rewarded and not taken advantage of.

“The boxers put their lives on the line. It’s my mission to ensure that the boxers are financially secure when they finish boxing, and healthy too. Let’s not forget – the money in boxing is put there one way or another by the fans, sponsors and TV companies – not by me or anyone else – and they put it there to watch the fighters. The fighters deserve their fair share.

“I firmly believe that my success has led to an increase in the campaign against me. Pretty much anything can be said about me, or inferred about me, and it goes unchallenged and is sadly believed.

“Last week it was inferred that I had threatened a reporter. Let me be clear on this point before I address the other allegations against me. I have full respect for journalism. I have worked with journalists and I value their role. Journalists should always be free to do their job, free from any threat or harassment. I have never threatened a reporter or journalist or asked anyone to do that for me. I never have and I never would.

“My concern is that I have not been on the receiving end of fair and credible journalism, especially in the UK and Ireland. The recent BBC Panorama programme is a good example. This was a rehash of unsubstantiated allegations that have been made previously on many occasions. It was unashamedly sensationalist and devoid of evidence or critical analysis. They refused to publish the statement I made in advance of the programme or even question the fundamental claim that “an Irish court accepted…” That Irish Court is the SCC, a court with no jury, and which accepts the word of police officers without question. It is criticised by both the UN and Amnesty International.

“This latest report follows a long pattern of throwing innuendo and baseless accusations at me hoping that some may stick.

“I can’t be any clearer on the fundamental slur – I am not a part of a criminal gang or any conspiracy. I have no convictions. None. Not just in Ireland but anywhere in the world.

“Media outlets link my name with criminality unconnected to me. I am not involved in any proceedings therefore I am unable to challenge this in court. The media know this yet they refuse to acknowledge it.

“There is no evidence or proof against me. I have said repeatedly: I have no criminal record anywhere in the world. Sections of the media ask that I disprove a negative. This is impossible but it shows what I’m up against.

“People need to ask themselves – If he has done the things he has been accused of why has he not been arrested and charged? Why does a police organisation anywhere in the world not have this information and evidence some sections of the media would have you believe actually exists. Why is there only a trial by media and not a criminal trial? There is a simple answer to this. That answer is because there is no evidence. It’s because it is not true.

“I’m blessed with an amazing family. I’m blessed to work in boxing at the highest level having organised some of the biggest fights in boxing previously and in the future. I will continue working every day to bring out the best in, and look after, the boxers I am lucky enough to work with.

“I have chosen to dedicate my life to my family and my work. I do so every day in good and honest faith. I will continue to always choose love and choose God in my future as I do in my present.”

Kinahan is believed to currently reside in Dubai. It is believed Kinahan relocated to the Middle East after 2016’s Regency Hotel Shooting. That shooting, which saw gunmen attack an MTK (then named MGM) boxing weigh-in, resulted in the death of David Byrne, a suspected top Kinahan lieutenant. It is believed that Kinahan himself was the intended target of that attack.

That attack is suspected to have been conducted by the Hutch Gang, in response to suspected Kinahan killings of Hutch Gang members. That Hutch-Kinahan feud began in 2015 when Gary Hutch, an alleged former Kinahan associate, was executed by other Kinahan associates.

Hutch was the nephew of alleged Hutch Gang leader Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch. Tabloid reports state that after Gerry Hutch refused to attend a negotiation with top Kinahan brass, the Kinahan group responded by assassinating other members of the Hutch family.

In 2020 Kinahan attempted to increase his visibility in the boxing world. He signed a deal to be an advisor with Bahraini Royal Family owned KHK Sports (which then announced a partnership with MTK). Also in 2020 Tyson Fury revealed, publicly, that Kinahan had negotiated his deals to fight Anthony Joshua.

After these incidents Irish politicians, including then Head of State Leo Varadkar, expressed their outrage at Kinahan’s involvement in what would be the biggest fights in British boxing history. Varadkar stated that broadcasters should boycott the fights and that his government had contacted their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates regarding Kinahan.

The public backlash resulted in Fury and KHK announcing they would no longer work with Kinahan. MTK then announced that Kinahan would be stepping away from boxing altogether.

However, based on his latest statement, it doesn’t seem as though Kinahan has any plans to end his involvement in the sport.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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