Boxing firm founded by Daniel Kinahan closes, citing ‘unfair criticism’

MTK Global says promoters will no longer work with them after US sanctions bulletin

The boxing company founded by Daniel Kinahan a decade ago has announced it is ceasing operations in the wake of the announcement of US sanctions against the international drugs smuggler.

MTK Global, a boxing management and promotions company which manages a long list of world class boxers including Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders, was founded by Kinahan under the name MGM in 2012.

He subsequently left the company and it has repeatedly claimed to have cut all ties with him.

Last Tuesday, the US Treasury announced measures targeting Kinahan, his father Christy Kinahan snr and his brother Christy jnr, including a ban on American citizens and companies doing business with them and a €5 million reward for information leading to their arrest or conviction.

All three have been named in court as forming the leadership of a criminal operation estimated to be worth €1 billion.

In a statement on Wednesday, MTK Global claimed it has faced “unprecedented levels of unfair scrutiny and criticism” since the sanctions were announced.

New partnerships

It said leading promoters have told MTK that they are severing all ties with it and will no longer work with MTK fighters, leading it to take the “difficult decision” to cease operations a the end of this month.

It said it will work with its fighters to find new partnerships “as quickly as possible.” MTK gyms, which are a separate entity will remain open.

The company said “it is a matter of public record that Mr Kinahan’s involvement in MTK ceased in 2017, and despite repeated reassurances in that regard, unfounded allegations about his association with us and our fighters persist”.

In 2020 the company announced a partnership with Kinahan to stage boxing and MMA events in the Middle East. Its fighters, including Fury, have repeatedly spoken positively about their business relationship with Kinahan in recent years.

Earlier this week president and chief executive Bob Yalen resigned from the company citing "pressure of the last few weeks."

A succession of other boxing figures have distanced themselves from Kinahan since the sanctions were announced.