Daniel Kinahan announces new boxing and ‘combat sports’ deal

Kinahan has been named by the Garda in court actions as a key gangland figure in Ireland

Gang leader Daniel Kinahan is at the centre of a new "combat sports" deal between a company founded by a member of the Bahrain royal family and the international boxing promotion company MTK Global.

The partnership was announced on Thursday and comes at a time when Kinahan is working to put in place a fight in the Middle East between British boxers Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for the world heavyweight title.

The new partnership deal is between MTK Global and KHK Sports, which is owned by Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

MTK Global said the deal would “bring the biggest fights to the Middle East along with international broadcasters such as ESPN in the US and UK broadcasters such as BT Sports and Sky Sports”.


“This is a monumental move for KHK Sports and MTK Global,” Kinahan said in a press release issued by MTK Global on Thursday in which he was described as a “special adviser to KHK Sports”.

“Both organisations have been making substantial waves in the international combats sports landscape and combined, the sky is the limit in what they can achieve.

“The only way for the sport to truly grow and be accessible to all, is to make it a truly global sport and this partnership will ensure that boxing is accessible to all in the Middle East and open the region to international opportunities.”

Kinahan has been named by the Garda in court actions as a key gangland figure in Ireland. Last year when the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) concluded a case against Dubliner Liam Byrne (39), Crumlin, the bureau told the High Court Byrne was a lieutenant of Daniel Kinahan.

Organised crime group

The Cab also told the court that the Kinahan organised crime group was engaged in a feud with the Hutch organised crime group. Daniel Kinahan, Liam Byrne and Freddy Thompson were on one side of the feud, with veteran Dublin criminal Gerry Hutch on the opposing side, Cab said.

According to evidence put by Cab before the High Court, Daniel Kinahan (42) is one of two leaders of the Kinahan cartel and is based in Dubai. It added that Liam Byrne is the leader of what Cab calls the Byrne organised crime group and is living in Birmingham, as his house and business in Dublin has been confiscated by Cab.

Freddie Thompson (39) is serving life for one of the 18 feud murders to date. Gerry Hutch (57), also known as The Monk, has been living abroad since the feud began.

The affidavit evidence also says Daniel Kinahan and his brother Christopher jnr (37) have assumed control of the criminal cartel their father, Christy Kinahan (62), began.

“The Byrne organised crime group originated in Dublin but now has interests in Spain, the Netherlands, South America and Dubai,” an unpublished ruling of the High Court stated last year. “It was previously led and directed by Christopher Kinahan snr, an Irish citizen who left Ireland to live in Spain and direct the operations of the group from that jurisdiction.

“It would appear that Mr Kinahan is now resident in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and that the day-to-day operations of his drug trafficking are managed and controlled by his sons, Christopher jnr and Daniel Kinahan.”

Kinahan-Hutch feud

The feud that Daniel Kinahan, Liam Byrne and, before he was imprisoned, Freddy Thompson have waged with Gerry Hutch has claimed the lives of 18 people.

Known as the Kinahan-Hutch feud, it began with the murder of Gary Hutch, the 35-year-old nephew of Gerry Hutch, in Spain in 2015. A reprisal attack, targeting Daniel Kinahan, was carried out at the Clash of the Clans boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, north Dublin, in 2016.

While Daniel Kinahan was not shot during that attack a number of other men were wounded and one of the victims, David Byrne, died from his injuries. He was the 32-year-old brother of Liam Byrne.

In its statement on Thursday, MTK Global said it would work under the new deal with KHK Sports to develop boxing globally. It added MTK MMA will work closely with Brave Combat Federation “the MMA arm of KHK Sports and the fastest growing MMA promotion in the world” to grow its international presence.

It added that as well as boxing and MMA, KHK Sports, which Kinahan is advising, had invested in European soccer clubs and also had a racing arm as well as other companies in wrestling and cricket.

MTK Global’s president Bob Yalen said the deal between MTK Global and KHK Sport would “put KHK Sports firmly on the map as a serious international combat sports entity and attract global eyes to the passionate work of His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and his team, so we’re very excited to see what the future holds together and realize our united vision”.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times