‘It’s something I don’t want to be involved in’: Billy Joe Saunders threatens to quit boxing over Daniel Kinahan stepping away from sport

·2-min read
WBO super middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders: Getty
WBO super middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders: Getty

Billy Joe Saunders is considering retirement from boxing after advisor Daniel Kinahan walked away from the sport.

The Irish boxing broker has advised both the WBO super-middleweight world champion and world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in recent years.

But after the WBC heavyweight champion publicly thanked Kinahan for negotiating the financial agreement for a mega fight against Anthony Joshua, Kinahan's name was brought up by the Irish government, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar telling the Dáil that he is a man with “a chequered history in this State and elsewhere”.

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum then confirmed Fury would be parting ways with Kinahan, which has angered Saunders and led to him considering his future in the sport.

“This is part of the reason why nothing has moved forward with me at the minute,” Saunders told IFL TV.

Billy Joe Saunders is considering retiring from the sport (Getty)
Billy Joe Saunders is considering retiring from the sport (Getty)

“There’s only one man I can trust and go away and work and tell him this is what I want to happen, and sometimes he’ll make it even better.

“Without a man you can trust in this game 100 per cent, it’s something I don’t want to be involved in any more.

“It’s about having somebody you can trust and go and get on with your business. Making fights is more stressful than getting ready to fight.

“I took a lot of advice from a very personal friend of mine in Daniel. He’s walking away from boxing, which is a big, big loss in my eyes.

“I don’t know if I want to be a part of it at this level anymore moving forward.”

Kinahan is regarded as boxing’s newest power broker. The son of convicted drug dealer Christie Kinahan, he founded the boxing management group MTK Global in 2012 and currently lives and works in Dubai.

He is also a person of significant interest to the Gardaí, the state police force of the Republic of Ireland. Only last month, Mr Justice Tony Hunt accepted evidence at Dublin’s Special Criminal Court that the Kinahan organised crime group was involved in organised drugs and firearms dealing on “an international scale” and that it has used “execution style” murders to protect its interest.

In 2018, a Spanish police officer told a court in Marbella that Kinahan ordered the murder of a gang rival on the Costa Del Sol in 2015. He is banned from entering the US and his name allegedly appears on target lists at the CAB, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI.

Kinahan has no criminal convictions.

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