Mescal quits training at MTK gym in Sydney, saying he ‘wasn’t aware’ of Kinahan link
Normal People star Paul Mescal has quit boxing at an Australian gym linked to crime boss Daniel Kinahan after footage emerged of him training at the facility.
Over the weekend MTK Global, the boxing company founded by Kinahan, posted a video on Twitter showing Mescal exercising at its gym in Sydney where Covid-19 restrictions have recently been relaxed.
The footage was uploaded in the same week that a BBC Panorama documentary highlighted the links between the sports company and organised crime.
Mescal (25), who rose to fame as Connell Waldron in the show Normal People, was criticised for boxing in the gym, with Government TD Neale Richmond describing it as a “spectacular error of judgment”.
The Co Kildare actor has since quit training at MTK Sydney’s facility, with his production team saying that they weren’t aware of its alleged links to organised crime.
A spokesperson for Mescal told the Irish Independent: “Goalpost Pictures and Chapter 2 are in production in Australia on a new feature film starring Paul Mescal.
“As part of his preparation for the film, Paul has been required to undertake boxing training.
“The production was not aware of the connection between the gym and the man named by Irish courts as a crime boss. Paul is no longer training at the facility.”
In the two-and-a-half-minute clip Mescal is seen taking a number of punches to the body while wearing a body protector.
Fine Gael TD Mr Richmond, who has been outspoken about Daniel Kinahan’s involvement in boxing, said that people must be aware of who the sports company is connected with. “This is a spectacular error of judgment from Mr Mescal or more likely his own management and PR team,” he had told the Irish Independent.
“Daniel Kinahan’s ties to MTK still remain a hot topic, despite their assertions. The world must be aware that MTK and anyone involved with Daniel Kinahan is toxic.
“It’s a disappointment but I have no doubt Mr Mescal will acknowledge this error of judgment or his ignorance of what and who lives behind MTK,” Mr Richmond added.
Since being founded in 2012 MTK has opened gyms all over the world, and in 2019 they announced a “strategic partnership” with Bondi Boxing Club in Sydney.
Kinahan yesterday released another statement in which he once again denied any links to criminality and said that he will continue to always choose “love and God”.
Reacting to news that the BBC Panorama team involved in the exposé of him had received threats, he said he had never threatened a journalist, or ordered someone to do so on his behalf.
Kinahan described the programme as a “rehash of unsubstantiated allegations” which are “devoid of evidence or critical analysis”.
The Dubliner stepped back from boxing last June after it emerged he helped arrange the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua bout, but now says he is involved in “multiple” world title fights.
In the lengthy statement issued to talkSPORT radio, he also criticised the non-jury Special Criminal Court, which last year found that the Kinahan organised crime gang was involved in arms trafficking and in execution-style murders.
Separately the High Court previously accepted evidence from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) that Daniel Kinahan was in charge of the gang’s day-to-day operations.