When the WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced via social media video in 2020 that he had signed a two-fight deal to face Anthony Joshua for the undisputed heavyweight title, he credited “Dan.”
Dozens of fights over the past few years have suddenly found their way not to New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, traditional strongholds of the biggest fights in the world, but instead to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. This is largely due to the presence of Daniel Kinahan, an Irish boxing promoter and manager.
Kinahan is so deeply involved in boxing that earlier this year a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America nominated him as a nominee for the 2021 Manager of the Year.
Kinahan didn’t win it, but he doesn’t have much time to worry about it now.
At a press conference in Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday, attended by senior US officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Ambassador to Ireland, the government announced a $15 million reward for information leading to Kinahan’s arrest and conviction; her father, Christopher V. Kinahan Sr.; and his brother, Christopher V. Kinahan Jr.. The reward is $5 million for each man.
Claire Cronin, US Ambassador to Ireland, said tackling organized crime is a top priority for President Joe Biden. In a press release issued by the Treasury Department, the Kinahans were referred to as the “Kinahan Organized Crime Group”.
“The Kinahan Organized Crime Group smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, into Europe, and poses a threat to the entire licit economy due to its role in international money laundering. “said Brian E. Nelson, Undersecretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Press release.
Daniel Kinahan has had a long relationship with many boxing personalities. Hoopoe Sports was mentioned in the release and manages fighters including Michael Conlan and Billy Joe Saunders.
Kinahan’s reach extends across the boxing world and although boxing was not discussed at Tuesday’s press conference, the investigation is ongoing.
No boxing promoter is accused of wrongdoing, but given Kinahan’s history, this creates a questionable association at best. There has never been a barrier to entry in boxing, and boxing in the United States has a long and not so glorious history with organized crime figures. Gangsters Frankie Carbo and Blinky Palermo were the most powerful figures in boxing in the United States in the mid-20th century.
Kinahan had a relationship with boxing management company MTK Global, and a fight manager insists in a lawsuit he still does, though Kinahan denies it. Boxing manager Moses Heredia of California sued MTK and Kinahan in 2020 alleging they stole boxer JoJo Diaz from him.
In Heredia’s lawsuit, he alleges that Kinahan, who is based in Dubai, supervises the activities of MTK. Heredia’s lawsuit also alleged that Kinahan helped co-found MTK in order to “launder illicit proceeds of drug trafficking through a seemingly legal business.”
In an affidavit filed in court on March 14, 2022, kinahan said“I do not work for and am not employed by MTK Global Sports Management, LLC, MTK Global USA, LLC [or the other defendants in the lawsuit,] Golden Boy Productions, Inc., Golden Boy Promotions, Inc., … »
Notable boxers managed by MTK Global include Fury, WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor, super lightweight contender Jack Catterall, WBO women’s middleweight champion Savannah Marshall, Liam Smith and Diaz. .
Many promoters have had deeper ties or relationships with Kinahan. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum called Kinahan “honourable” in a 2020 story in the Irish Sun, although Top Rank severed their relationship with him shortly afterwards.
A new boxing promotion, Probellum, denied being associated with Kinahan despite a tweet from Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti, the provincial minister for sports and youth in Punjab, Pakistan.
On March 20, he wrote on Twitter, “Met @probellum on aligning vision on boxing for Punjab and how to make this sport bigger for our youth. Looking forward to welcoming Daniel to Lahore to discuss Pakistan’s first international fight with world class foreign boxers InshAllah. I will share more information in the coming weeks.
He included several photos with the tweet, one of which was of him with Kinahan.
Kinahan’s alleged crimes so far have nothing to do with boxing, but he has struck deals worth millions of dollars with promoters of the sport. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against the Kinahans.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of designated persons or entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC,” the statement read.
So there could be tough times for many of the biggest names in boxing.
Their assets can be scrutinized like never before. It’s a story that’s not going away anytime soon.
And this is not good news for those who did and especially for those who continue to do business with Kinahan.