Politician urging for boxing reforms in wake of BBC’s ‘Boxing and the Mob’ exposé

According to Insider Stephen Farry, an MP who represents the North Down constituency in Northern Ireland, is calling for reforms in the sport of…

By: Tim Bissell | 3 years ago
Politician urging for boxing reforms in wake of BBC’s ‘Boxing and the Mob’ exposé
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According to Insider Stephen Farry, an MP who represents the North Down constituency in Northern Ireland, is calling for reforms in the sport of boxing. Farry’s requests come after the airing of ‘Boxing and the Mob’ on BBC’s Panorama. That documentary examined the connections between boxing and Daniel Kinahan, a man Irish courts, politicians and media accuse of controlling a $1 billion drug trafficking network.

Farry, who represents the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, has submitted an official request to the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for information regarding Kinahan and his involvement in boxing.

In his request, Farry asked for the following information (per Insider):

  • For an assessment from the DCMS of the implications for policies “on the regulation of the sport of boxing [following] allegations made in the BBC’s Panorama programme” that alleged Kinahan, a suspected international mob boss, continues to control boxing in Europe.
  • “What steps the Government is taking to ensure that professional boxing in the UK or associated with the UK is not influenced by people alleged to be involved in organized crime.”
  • “What plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals on improving the regulation of professional boxing in the UK or associated with the UK.”
  • “What plans the Government has to introduce a fit and proper person test for those involved in professional boxing consistent with such tests used in other professional sports.”

The specific claims made by Panorama included that Kinahan is a central figure within MTK Global. Kinahan founded that company, with former pro boxer Matthew Macklin, under the name Macklin’s Gym Marbella in 2012.

Since changing its name, MTK has risen to become one of the most powerful entities in combat sports. As a management company MTK represents Tyson Fury, Michael Conlan, Carl Frampton, Billy Joe Saunders and many other internationally renowned boxers. MTK also has deals in place with Top Rank and ESPN+. MTK’s MMA division represents a slew of UFC stars including Darren Till, Mounir Lazzez, Talia Santos and Su Mudaerji.

Around 2016 MTK began claiming that they had ended their relationship with Kinahan. That year an MTK boxing weigh-in show was attacked by gunman who killed David Byrne, a suspected top lieutenant in the Kinahan Organised Crime Group. It is believed that Kinahan himself was the target of the attack. Kinahan is thought to have moved to Dubai soon after this incident.

The weigh-in attack was part of the ongoing Hutch-Kinahan feud, a bloody gang war that has resulted in the deaths of at least 18 people since 2015. The feud started when Gary Hutch, nephew of alleged Hutch Gang patriarch Gerry Hutch, was killed in southern Spain by suspected Kinahan associates.

The BBC claimed that, despite MTK’s claims, Kinahan has remained a central figure in that company. For evidence the BBC cited the testimony of boxing insiders and also pointed to the fact that, in 2020, Tyson Fury publicly acknowledged Kinahan’s role in negotiating on his behalf.

Since Fury announced to the world that Kinahan secured his deal to fight Anthony Joshua there was a massive public backlash. This included Ireland’s then Head-of-State Leo Varadkar calling for the fight to be boycotted. Varadkar also revealed that his government had spoken to their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates regarding Kinahan.

Since then Fury has announced he will no longer work with Kinahan. Kinahan was also dropped from his advisory role with KHK Sports in Bahrain.

In a rare public statement Kinihan stated that he was going to continue to work within boxing. Kinahan made this statement after reports surfaced that a producer involved in the BBC documentary had to be moved to a secure location due to a threat against his life.

In his statement Kinahan claimed he would never threaten a journalist. Kinahan also refuted all claims made by the BBC, and others, regarding his alleged connections to the world of organized crime.

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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.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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