Daniel Kinahan.
Deja Vu

Daniel Kinahan to step away from boxing, claims MTK president

Bob Yalen has alleged that the backlash against Kinahan stems from ‘the hearsay testimony of biased parties’.

LAST UPDATE | 29 Jun 2020

DANIEL KINAHAN WILL step away from the sport of boxing, effective immediately, and focus on “other interests”, according to MTK Global president Bob Yalen.

The purported move arrives following widespread international backlash as Kinahan’s involvement in the professional game was laid bare in recent weeks.

His role in negotiations for a prospective 2021 World heavyweight title clash between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua in particular — initially championed by Fury, who less than a fortnight later was seen to cut ties with the Dubliner — turned the heads of Irish politicians as far up as former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The addressing of the subject in the Dáil, as well as scathing statements from politicians such as Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond, led to an escalation of media coverage of the story in both the UK and America.

Kinahan has no criminal convictions but has been named in the Irish High Court as the controller of an international drug gang which is worth a billion euro, spans three continents and has been linked to innumerable deaths across the world.

Yalen, a boxing-industry professional, was hired as president of MTK Global by the boxing-management company’s CEO, Sandra Vaughan, in October 2018, over a year after MTK claimed to have cut ties with its co-founder, Kinahan.

The American former TV producer has praised Kinahan in the past and did so again while speaking to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger on the topic, claiming Kinahan would remove himself from boxing in a bid to avoid negative news headlines and “do what’s right for the sport”.

“Daniel’s going to be taking time away from the sport to focus on other interests and hopefully this will put a stop to the negative press from Ireland that’s based entirely on hearsay,” Yalen said. “No court has ever found this man guilty of anything. The man has never been charged or convicted of a crime. The only basis for these allegations is the hearsay testimony of biased parties.

“And it’s unfortunate for his fighters that he’s taking this step back. But I respect his personal decision. He wants to do what’s right for the sport, he loves the fighters. But MTK will continue to secure the best, most lucrative deal for its fighters and ensure the biggest fights in the sports are made.”

In response to Yalen’s comments, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said:

These reports, if true, are extremely welcome. Daniel Kinahan should have no role in boxing at any level and those involved with the sport should be fully aware of exactly who he is based on years of misery heaped on the streets of Dublin. Unfortunately, it is hard not to be cynical and we must see absolute clarity that he is in no way involved, directly or indirectly.

Kinahan previously appeared to take a backseat in February 2017 upon Vaughan’s takeover of MTK. A year later, citing Kinahan-related media coverage of MTK as cause for the company’s ‘boycott’ of the Republic of Ireland, the Scottish businesswoman once again stressed that he was not involved in her company.

Vaughan has more recently waxed lyrical about Kinahan’s role in MTK’s rapid growth, however, revealing that it was he who recommended MTK to fighters such as Fury, who signed a management deal with the Dubai-based organisation in November 2017.

Since ending his official association with MTK in 2017, Kinahan has become one of the most influential people in boxing and a personal advisor to several of the world’s leading fighters, most of whom are signed to MTK.

- Updated at 18:09 with comments from Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond.

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