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Barry McGuigan in warning to boxing over Kinahan ‘grip’ after Frampton case

Promoter says the reputed Dublin crime boss has ‘tarnished’ the sport


Concerned: Barry McGuigan outside court last week

Concerned: Barry McGuigan outside court last week

Concerned: Barry McGuigan outside court last week

Reputed Dublin crime boss Daniel Kinahan retains a “grip” on boxing in Ireland, and that is “perilous” to the future of the sport, Barry McGuigan has warned in his first interview following the settlement of his legal action with Carl Frampton.

Mr McGuigan claimed that Mr Kinahan, who founded the boxing promotion company MTK Global, was still heavily involved in the sport despite the Dubliner’s claim he has severed links with the firm.

In an interview published on Sunday in The Sun newspaper, Mr McGuigan also spoke of the pressure of dealing with the more than three year legal battle, the online abuse directed at him and his family and the trauma of losing his daughter, sister and sister-in-law while the action was ongoing.

Mr McGuigan (59) and 33-year-old north Belfast’s Mr Frampton, known as The Jackal, settled the litigation under undisclosed terms after 19 days of testimony spread over more than two months at Belfast’s High Court.

The Clones Cyclone did not reveal why the action was abruptly settled but it came shortly after it emerged the McGuigan family found thousands of previously undisclosed emails.

Former two-weight world champion Mr Frampton sued Mr McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions for £6m after splitting with his manager in late 2017. He claimed Mr McGuigan and family members hid millions in bout and other monies.

Mr McGuigan countersued, claiming breach of contract after the boxer left his stable to join with MTK.

In the interview, Mr McGuigan criticised Mr Kinahan’s involvement in the sport. Mr Kinahan, who has no convictions, has been named by Dublin’s High Court as the leader of the so-called ‘Kinahan cartel’, a criminal organisation involved in “the importation and distribution of controlled drugs and firearms within this jurisdiction”.

The Criminal Assets Bureau has said he “controlled and managed” the operations of the cartel.

Mr McGuigan told the Sun: “Boxing is in the worse state I can ever remember it. The effect of Kinahan has been to diminish and tarnish the sport.

“I don’t think boxing is going to regain its standing until Daniel Kinahan is no longer part of it — he is a black mark on the sport.

“The grip that Kinahan has on the sport is really very worrying. Everyone in Ireland, north and south, knows about him. The sport is in a perilous place.”

In testimony, Mr Frampton said he was not aware of the allegations that MTK was a “front” for a criminal organisation.

Mr McGuigan revealed how he and his family received abusive messages from trolls prior to the start of the trial. But he was “happy” that people were then able to hear his and promoter son Blain’s side of the story during the trial.

“We are very happy the court case is over,” he said, adding that the legal action continued as the family dealt with several tragedies. “I lost my beautiful daughter Danika 15 months ago, my sister and sister-in-law during the court case and that put a great deal of strain on my family,” Mr McGuigan said.

“If people understood what I’ve been through they would understand how difficult the last few years have been.

“My children suffered the same grief as me and to watch that as a father is very difficult.”

Mr McGuigan believes he could not have done more for Mr Frampton and his career.

“In his time with us he reached the top of his game and became a two-weight world champion and hit the pinnacle of his career,” he said.

“It’s disappointing that our relationship ended the way it did.”

He added: “If we better understood how Carl thought and what motivated him, we might not have ended up in litigation, but we can only know how we feel — and we are happy.”

Mr McGuigan, who said he will continue in boxing, said the believes there should be an umbrella body operating above the four main boxing organisations to police doping, medical matters and rankings as well to counter the threat of promotion and management companies building monopolies.

Belfast Telegraph