NewsCrime Desk

Kinahan's pride and joy MGM Gym is the gang's weak link

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Kinahan's pride and joy MGM Gym is the gang's weak link

It’s the Irish Mafia’s pride and joy – the Kinahans’ version of Pablo Escobar’s foray into the world of sport when he bought Colombian soccer team Atlético Nacional.

MGM boxing gym, fronted by Matthew Macklin, was started in Marbella just four years ago out of an idea he shared with close friend Daniel Kinahan for a gym to give something back to the community. 

As the Kinahan Cartel grew in wealth and confidence after the setback of the 2010 Operation Shovel raids, it became their favoured past-time.

The publicity shy Daniel even became the public face of the fight club, emerging from the shadows of organised crime to appear on TV and in magazine interviews. He took to Twitter to promote his new found obsession.

The underworld has long had a fascination with the fight game, but the Kinahans’ love of MGM would play a pivotal role in the feud that would change the face of gangland forever.

Matthew Macklin & Daniel Kinahan 

It was an MGM connection – boxer Jamie Moore – who was attacked in a case of mistaken identity with what are now thought to be the first shots of the feud.

The intended target of that botched hit was Daniel Kinahan, and the cartel witchhunt that followed led to the murder of Gary Hutch.

When the gunmen came again for Daniel, they would target his weakness for MGM once more. 

Despite the looming underworld battle, the cartel chief wasn’t hard to find. He attended a widely publicised MGM weigh-in event at the Regency Hotel on February 5 and escaped with his life from the most audacious gangland attack ever seen in Ireland. David Byrne was not so lucky

David Byrne

The brutal response by the Kinahans has now brought the forces of law and order to their doors – and last week to the door of their favourite haunt, MGM Marbella. 

Last week the fight club found its connections to the Kinahan family had placed it at the centre of an international police operation, as its doors were smashed in by the Guardia Civil investigating the murder of Gary Hutch and the Kinahan Cartel.

Despite the storm raging around it, MGM is continuing to work to cement its place as one of the leading clubs in the international fight game.

Just this week it announced it had signed Irish Olympian Paddy Barnes. The gym and now major promotions brand has not held back in showing their interest in fellow Rio fighter Michael Conlan, who Macklin is now to coach with a separate promotions outfit.

MGM has never been shy about reaching for the top and the gym has made huge strides in the world of boxing, where it is fast becoming a team and promotions outfit to be reckoned with.

Boxing insiders say it has the financial clout to be a heavyweight in world boxing despite its alarming links to criminal investigations.