NewsCrime Desk

Boxer caught in Regency hit taken on hols by MGM gym

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Gary Sweeney
Gary Sweeney

The boxer who fled in terror during the gun attack at the Regency Hotel earlier this year has been enjoying a holiday in Marbella – thanks to Daniel Kinahan and the MGM gym.

Gary Sweeney, who has served a doping ban, was videoed standing in a pair of superman underpants on the stage shortly before gunfire was heard during the Clash of the Clans weigh-in last February. David Byrne was shot dead during the event.

The 21-year-old, from Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, was seen running for his life as panic ensued at the now infamous fight promo.

Sweeney, who is one of the country’s most promising young boxers, signed up to MGM after he was hit with a nine-month doping ban when he tested positive for a prohibited substance in Ireland.

Sweeney’s coach, his brother Martin, was suspended for 27 months after he admitted providing the teenager with the banned substance Furosemide.

Gary Sweeney with his brother Michael 

However, the pair signed the lucrative contract with the Spanish-based gym – which is fronted by Matthew Macklin – and the Clash of the Clans was to be his first outing.

Both brothers were in attendance at the Regency on the day of the attack, along with Gary’s wife and nephew.

Despite his obvious terror, Sweeney has remained committed to MGM and has competed in two bouts under their colours since. In the past few weeks he has been enjoying a well-deserved holiday in the sun with his partner.

The two on holiday in Marbella 

The Sunday World understands that MGM has been desperately trying to salvage its tattered reputation since the events of last February in Dublin, which has kicked off a major gangland feud.

A number of amateur boxers from Ireland, Scotland and the U.K. have been approached by representatives of the gym with the offer of free accommodation, training and promotion in exchange for signing up to MGM.

Macklin has recently returned to Marbella after a long absence from his Costa gym. It is understood that the boxer had returned to his native Birmingham where he had been keeping a low profile.

Boxers and sporting celebrities are regularly offered free holidays to Macklin’s boxing gym, where Daniel Kinahan has been working openly as a manager despite heading up a murderous drug dealing mob from Spain.

They are put up in luxury villas, lavished with champagne and VIP access to local nightclubs and encouraged to wear the trademark MGM clothing range for photographs while socialising around Puerto Banus.

Promising young athletes have also been offered the chance of a lifetime to turn professional by gym spotters, who lure them with promises of a house in the sun for all the family, lucrative contracts and heavy promotion of their image.

Gary just before the gunmen entered 

Two other boxers who were also in attendance at the Regency event were Jamie Kavanagh and MGM’s Sean Turner, who was also hit with a one-year ban for anti-doping violations.

Kavanagh, whose father Gerard was murdered two years ago on the Costa del Sol, was seen vomiting as he fled from the shooting incident at the hotel.

As the shooting started

Following the death of his friend David Byrne, he said: “It was shocking and crazy at the same time.”

Gary running as the gunmen approach 

However, he said he had put the incident behind him: “I still have people today asking me, ‘hey, how’s it going, are you OK?’ And all I can say is yeah, I’m OK. I’ve kind of put that behind me. And that’s all I’m trying to do – put it behind me and move forward with my boxing career.”

One of MGM’s top boxers, ‘Pride of Dublin’ Anthony Fitzgerald announced his retirement from the sport following the regency attack.

He said on his Facebook page: “After long talks with my family I’ve decided to hang up my gloves,” he said.

MGM are planning a boxing extravaganza for Liverpool in October.