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UK government must ‘urgently’ address Daniel Kinahan’s involvement in boxing, says MP

Daniel Kinahan, originally from Ireland, moved to Dubai in 2016

The UK government has been told it must be “much more proactive” and “urgently” address the involvement of a suspected crime boss in professional boxing.

It followed revelations over his continued involvement at the top of the sport by the BBC’s Panorama, leading to calls for tighter regulation.

Kinahan has no criminal convictions, but was named in Irish courts as the head of a prominent drug cartel.

On Tuesday, Stephen Farry MP said “stronger pressure was required” from the government, including “a willingness to legislate”.

The deputy leader of the Alliance Party accused ministers of a “passive response” to a series of questions he had asked about the controversy.

Kinahan helped set up boxing management business MTK Global – but it was announced last year he was stepping away from the sport.

However, the company told Panorama that he still advises some of its boxers, and the suspected gangster then issued his own statement, insisting he was innocent, and that he continued to work on “record-breaking” fights.

In the wake of the programme, Farry wrote to the government asking what plans it had to introduce regulation of advisers in boxing, a fit and proper person test for those involved in the sport, and what steps it was taking to ensure that it was not influenced by people alleged to be involved in organised crime.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) replied, saying fit and proper persons tests “are a matter for the national governing bodies”.

“We do not intend to intervene in this autonomy at this time but we expect national governing bodies and competition structures to put adequate levels of protections in place,” it said.

In response, Farry – who represents the North Down constituency in Belfast – tweeted “self-regulation has not happened so far”, and said he would be following up further with the government on “serious issues surrounding Daniel Kinahan’s role in professional boxing”.

Kinahan’s role in world boxing caused an outcry in June last year when it emerged he had been working as a personal adviser to world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury before a much-anticipated £200m fight later this year with fellow British world champion Anthony Joshua.

Panorama asked Fury whether Kinahan was still his personal adviser, but he did not respond.

Last week promoter Eddie Hearn was asked by BBC Radio 5 Live if the Fury v Joshua fight – set to be the biggest bout in British boxing history – could have been negotiated without Kinahan’s influence.

“No, because that’s Fury’s adviser,” he replied.

“That’s his team… we were told to deal with Daniel Kinahan to make that fight, initially. Then there was a backlash and those reins were passed over to [US promoter] Bob Arum.

“He’s been an important part of Team Fury for a long time and when you are dealing with making a big fight you have to deal with that team that that fighter has put together and the person that the responsibility has been given to… Of course, he represents other fighters as well.”

Last week, Scotland’s Josh Taylor confirmed Kinahan was helping to broker his world title unification fight against Jose Ramirez. Taylor is one of a host of fighters to publicly back the Irishman. However, pressure is building on broadcasters over their plans for fights involving Kinahan.

In a statement, BT Sport, which televises Fury’s fights, said: “We find the recent allegations extremely concerning, and would like to state we have no dealings, nor relationship with the individual referenced.

“We only work with certified agents and rights holders.

“As a broadcaster of multiple different sports, we are not able to control an athletes’ choice of management and representation.”

Rival broadcaster Sky Sports said it had never had any direct commercial or contractual relationship with MTK.

The British Boxing Board of Control has said it is powerless to stop Kinahan advising boxers as it does not regulate such roles and he is not licensed with them.

Lawyers for MTK Global told Panorama that while Kinahan “provides some personal advice to a number of boxers managed by MTK Global”, he had never owned, controlled or been an employee of the company.

Kinahan’s lawyers also told the programme he has no criminal convictions and the allegations about him running a violent cartel were false and had no evidential basis.

“He is proud of his record in boxing to date. He has operated on the basis of honesty and with a commitment to putting fighters’ needs first,” they said.

“Mr Kinahan is a successful and independent adviser in the boxing industry in his own right. It is a matter of public record that he has exited the business of MTK.”

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