Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua agreeing to financial terms for a two-fight deal may have stirred excitement among fight fans, but news of this agreement between the heavyweight boxing titans stirred concern among UK politicians and law enforcement alike.
Meet Daniel Kinahan. Some of you may have encountered him on Instagram alongside certain professional fighters (pictured below: far right). Some of you may have encountered him elsewhere. Whatever the case, here’s what you need to know…
While Kinahan has zero recorded arrests, charges, or convictions, he has been accused of leading The Kinahan Cartel by relevant authorities and condemned for his supposed actions by countless others. Countless others, in this case, referring to the government.
“This is no ordinary businessman,” says Stephen Farry, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland’s Deputy Leader and current British MP.
From his adopted residence in Dubai – a means of evading those hunting for his downfall, legal or otherwise – Kinahan allegedly runs the day-to-day operations of a criminal enterprise which has generated an estimated US$1.13 billion (AU$1.62 billion) in black market revenue. Drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, violence which has resulted in the death of at least 50 individuals… you name it.
“Daniel Kinahan, as we’ve learned in a sworn affidavit to the High Court last month, is a criminal mastermind behind one of the biggest drug feuds and drug operations in the country,” says Neale Richmond, Irish Fine Gael politician.
So what does someone like Kinahan have to do with Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua? As it so happens, the man has been toiling away behind the scenes in the boxing world. Brokering the odd deal here and there, greasing some palms along the way, and working his way up from regional to international seats of power; Kinahan has steadily become one of professional boxing’s most influential figures.
As Tyson Fury himself revealed in an Instagram video (pictured below), Kinahan was also responsible for getting the two-fight agreement with Anthony Joshua “over the line”. Shortly after the video was posted, Fury’s representatives would claim they were not aware of any allegations. Incidentally, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn also pleaded ignorance.
At this point, you can probably understand why alarm bells have been sounded. Not only does Kinahan’s growing sway on elite boxing threaten to infiltrate and corrupt the sport as a whole, it also presents an opportunity to conveniently legitimise both himself and his associates through a sizeable mainstream platform.
“Many people enjoy sport, including professional boxing and would look forward to a match-up between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua,” says Farry.
“But it is critical that we have integrity in sport… he is not a fit and proper person to be involved in the promotion of professional sport, let alone a very high-profile event.”
Even the Leader of Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar, was “taken aback” to learn of Kinahan’s involvement, going on the record to state it would be “entirely appropriate” for broadcasters to wash their hands of the impending event purely due to the association with organised crime.
Currently, it is unclear what will happen, or if anything will indeed happen in the realm of Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua. But I think it’s worth asking ourselves one simple question:
Are we all just going to turn a blind eye because of the money involved and quality of entertainment on the line?
[Above: a perfect case of what happens when Kinahan mixes his boxing hustle with his crime grind.]