Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury has reportedly dropped Daniel Kinahan as his negotiator in the midst of mounting criticism of the Irish drug smuggler's involvement in professional boxing.
Kinahan, who is believed to control an international criminal organisation worth about €1 billion, has acted as an adviser to the British boxer for the last three years and has been instrumental in brokering a two-fight deal with rival Anthony Joshua, one of the most anticipated bouts in boxing history.
If confirmed, the development is yet another blow to Kinahan's recent efforts to whitewash his reputation on the international stage and distance himself from court findings in Ireland that he is a major figure in a gang feud which has caused 18 deaths.
Last week, KHK, a company owned by a Bahraini prince cut ties with Kinahan, a month after hiring him as an adviser.
Citing its “integrity and deep-rooted principles in the sports industry”, KHK said it “has discontinued engagement with Daniel Kinahan and he is no longer an adviser to KHK Sports”.
The parting of Fury and Kinahan was first reported in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday.
Fury's boxing promoter Bob Arum told the newspaper he had discussed the matter with the boxer and they decided Arum and his company Top Rank will handle the negotiations for forthcoming fights.
“Over the weekend I’ve had a lot of conversations with Tyson Fury and what we both decided is that myself, Top Rank and Fury will do all negotiations for fights in the future.
"Whether it's for Joshua or Wilder or anybody else. We've informed Eddie Hearn about that. He knows where to go for the negotiations. Tyson and I have had long negotiations about it. That's the way it's going to be."
“This will eliminate a lot of confusion,” added Arum. “We’ve talked with Dan [Kinahan], who Tyson and I both love and admire and respect, and he understands that it’s best the negotiations on Tyson’s side be handled that way.
“Both Tyson and I have each discussed this with Dan and he is amenable and satisfied and wished us luck. He only wants the best for Tyson Fury.”
Two weeks ago Fury thanked and effusively praised Kinahan for his role in arranging the fight, leading to a media and political backlash.
Several Irish politicians, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, expressed their discomfort with the news and it was revealed Irish officials had been briefing their counterparts in the UAE, where Kinahan lives, about his criminal past.
One of the most vocal politicians was Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond said the news that Daniel Kinahan will have no involvement at all in this fight was an "extremely welcome development but far from the end of this saga."
“Daniel Kinahan cannot continue to use boxing as a tool to rehabilitate his image and whitewash his very sinister criminal pasts as per the ruling of our special criminal court.
"We also need to see clarity from MTK of what exact role Daniel Kinahan has with them. It's time other boxers like Billy Joe Saunders dropped Daniel Kinahan and distanced themselves from him.
“We have seen our brave journalists lead the charge in exposing Daniel Kinahan for who he is, there is much more work to be done though.”