Man of honour Barry McGuigan leading the fight against ‘dangerous’ Daniel Kinahan
To get a sense of the warped morality within parts of the boxing community, you simply had to type ‘Barry McGuigan’ into the Twitter search bar yesterday.
The Clones Cyclone made the brave decision to speak out about Daniel Kinahan’s malign influence on the sport, something he claimed was becoming ‘a very dangerous situation’.
For some keyboard warriors, this was the most disturbing part of Panorama’s investigation into MTK Global. Not the criminal links that were highlighted. Not the footage from the Regency Hotel, nor the slaughter on the streets of Dublin that has come from the Kinahan-Hutch feud. No. They were more concerned about McGuigan who was dubbed ‘a rat’ and ‘a grass’, as if some form of omerta was broken.
The former world featherweight champion won’t be bothered by what a few cowards write. The courage of Finbarr Patrick McGuigan has never been in doubt and isn’t confined to the squared circle, evident in his recent Late Late Show appearance when he spoke so eloquently about the passing of his daughter, Nika.
Here was a man who had to carry a gun that — by his own admission — he couldn’t use because of kidnapping threats in the mid-1980s.
Coming to prominence in the darkest period of the Troubles, McGuigan, who had grown up on the Border, didn’t take sides. He was the Catholic boy who fell in love with a Protestant girl. He boxed as an amateur for both Ulster and Leinster. He fought for a British title. He tried to unify both sides of the divide.
When his star shone brightest, he made a stand for peace over all the sectarian killing, encapsulated in the phrase ‘Leave the fighting to McGuigan’. So, facing threats is nothing new.
Perhaps, that is why he has decided to raise his head above the parapet. As the reporter Darragh McIntyre related on the BBC website, he contacted many within boxing who were concerned by Kinahan’s growing profile in the sport. But nobody would go on the record. That come as no surprise to anyone who has covered this story for years.
Within the sport’s community in Ireland, there is a real fear of publicly voicing fears and frustration about how powerful MTK has become. McGuigan accepted that it could have looked like sour grapes. He has lost five fighters to the MTK management stable over the past couple of years, including one from his own gym.
As would be revealed in the recent legal battle between McGuigan and Carl Frampton, MTK aren’t taking the traditional 25 per cent cut of management fees. Frampton would tell the court that MTK don’t take any money off him, which seemed extraordinary — and adds to the mystery of how the management company is bankrolled.
‘It takes millions and millions of dollars to do what MTK have done,’ McGuigan pointed out. ‘Where is the money coming from to allow MTK to grow at such a ferocious rate?’
That’s a pertinent question. Like every sport and business, 2020 was a struggle for professional boxing. Cards were cancelled. Opportunities dwindled for fighters. And yet, the MTK management company continued to expand.
It wasn’t just Kinahan’s role as matchmaker of the Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury heavyweight superfight that was a sign of their growing powerbase in the sport.
They now have 26 gyms in 20 countries and have also broken into the American market, the promised land of pro boxing. They did all this in a year when the sport was barely treading water during the pandemic.
Fred in dread of potential of these gangs listens to a podcast (Guardian) concerning one man’s choice (while in prison) to go against the Ndrangheta. His area of expertise was South America as a source of illegal drugs. They hold up to 80% of the illegal drug supply into Europe. The most interesting point is that the Pandemic is a bonus to crime especially the drug crime. People are in need of cash; the banks are not the providers, it is who you know and omerta.
Add to this the exceptional anxiety experienced by people at every level, and then add a GP who says no they won’t give you benzos and the temptation is there and the source of illegal drugs (based on the recent finds) is an attractive way of coping with these hard times. I recommend strongly this podcast especially to those who watched Panorama last Monday night. Those associated and involved in this one hour programme are now threatened by the Cartel. It takes one person, even a person who has ordered “hits” to find themselves in prison with plenty of time to think and then decide to seek a deal with the authorities and the family is broken into oblivion. The Rule of Law prevails
Inside the trial against the ‘Ndrangheta, Italy’s biggest mafia syndicate
Guardian journalists Lorenzo Tondo and Clare Longrigg discuss the trial against the ‘Ndrangheta, the largest mafia trial in three decades. At the centre is Emanuele Mancuso, son of boss Luni Mancuso, who has been revealing the clan’s secrets after accepting police protection