Mob boss kinahan takes body blow as Taoiseach calls for fight boycott
Leo Varadkar has called for a boycott of a massive boxing fight amid huge controversy over the involvement of drug kingpin Daniel Kinahan.
The Taoiseach spoke out as top US boxing promoter Bob Arum tried to play down the notorious Dublin gang boss’s involvement in crime.
It came as two major broadcasters moved to distance themselves from the bout dubbed the “biggest fight in British boxing history” and Kinahan’s criminal activities because the focus of media outlets.
Arum yesterday said Kinahan’s involvement with crime is “not of a major concern” for him.
However, Mr Varadkar said sports and media organisations should have nothing to do with the boxing showdown.
Kinahan, who heads a cartel involved in murders both in Ireland and abroad, as well as a major drugs empire, was given a “big shout-out” earlier this week by world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury for his role in brokering the major bout with Anthony Joshua.
In a video message posted on social media on Wednesday, Fury announced a two-fight deal between himself and unified world title holder Joshua.
“I’m just after getting off the phone with Daniel Kinahan,” he told his followers, saying that “he’s just informed me that the biggest fight in British boxing history has just been agreed.”
Fury also gave a “big shout-out to Dan” who he said “literally got this done” and “over the line”.
A number of Irish politicians have called for action over Dubai-based Kinahan, who has been named in the High Court as running the day-to-day drug trafficking operations of the international crime gang.
“Certainly the authorities in the UAE know the situation. They know our concerns and our problems with it,” Mr Varadkar said.
Asked if sports broadcasters should show the planned fight, he replied: “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. I wouldn’t like to see them giving it any attention at all given the circumstances.”
Meanwhile, two leading UK-based sports broadcasters operating in Ireland distanced themselves yesterday from the controversy.
A spokesman for BT Sport said it is “not currently involved in the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua negotiations”.
“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,” it said.
Sky Sports also released the following statement yesterday but would not comment further.
“Sky Sports has an exclusive contract with Matchroom Sports and with Anthony Joshua. We have not been involved in negotiations for a possible Joshua v Fury fight. All our broadcast deals are subject to careful consideration,” it said.
It came as boxing promoter Arum told Newstalk Breakfast that the leader of the Kinahan organised crime gang is an “intelligent, dead honest, forthright, and a no-nonsense guy”.
The former US federal prosecutor added that it is not unusual for people with “questionable backgrounds” to go into boxing.
When asked if he has concerns about Kinahan’s background, Arum said: “What did or didn’t happen prior to his involvement in boxing is not of a major concern to me.
“They don’t really speak on how he has acted when he has been involved in boxing, which is forthright, honest, reliable.”