• Panorama to air evidence of Daniel Kinahan’s involvement
  • Barry McGuigan says: ‘There is an intimidation effect’

Tyson Fury credited Daniel Kinahan (right) with arranging a fight against Anthony Joshua.

The murky world of professional boxing is under fresh scrutiny as a BBC Panorama investigation claims to have found clear evidence that “a suspected organised crime boss is still working at the top of world boxing”. Daniel Kinahan’s involvement at the highest level of the fight game in Britain, Ireland and the US has long been regarded as an open secret within the sport but the BBC programme marks a significant shift in coverage of the story.

Until now the investigative work into Kinahan’s involvement in boxing has been confined mainly to news outlets in Ireland. Kinahan has been named in the Irish courts as the head of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group – which the BBC describe as “one of Europe’s most brutal drug cartels”. The Irish courts, the BBC report, “have accepted that the Kinahan Organised Crime Group is involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and gangland executions”.

In his explanation of the public silence that has usually surrounded Kinahan’s alleged involvement in boxing, Barry McGuigan, the former world champion fighter, told the BBC in Monday night’s programme that: “There is no doubt there is an intimidation effect. There is no question about that. If we were to believe what we believe, someone has got to look out for this sport. They really need to look at this situation very carefully, because it’s bloody dangerous.”

In 2012 Kinahan helped set up a boxing management business called MGM in Marbella, Spain, and that company has since mushroomed into the increasingly powerful MTK Global organisation which looks after 250 boxers around the world. MTK Global has stressed that Kinahan ceased working with the company in 2017.

But lawyers for MTK Global told Panorama: “It is true that Mr Kinahan provides some personal advice to a number of boxers managed by MTK Global and we are instructed that Mr Kinahan also provides such advisory services to boxers who are managed by other worldwide boxing management companies too.”

Last summer Tyson Fury, the WBC world heavyweight champion, posted a picture of himself and Kinahan online in a video announcing his proposed unification fight with Anthony Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion: “Just got off the phone with Daniel Kinahan,” Fury said. “He has just informed me that the biggest fight in British boxing history has just been agreed. Big shout out, Dan. He got this done, literally over the line.”

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks.

Kinahan, who moved to Dubai in 2016, had just been hired as a special adviser to the Prince of Bahrain’s sports organisation, KHK. The controversy which followed the Fury video seemed to have persuaded him to step back and late last year it was stated that he had withdrawn from all boxing activities. The Panorama programme suggests this is not the case.

MTK Global has continued to expand its operation in America and numerous established US fighters have joined the company. But four counts of racketeering were filed against Kinahan and MTK in the US District Court in California on 18 December last year by Heredia Boxing Management.

Kinahan’s lawyers told the BBC he has no criminal convictions and that all the allegations against him are false: “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. 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.”