Kinahan's MGM gym want to take on Mick Conlan

NewsBy Eamon Dillon
Michael Conlan
Michael Conlan

The Belfast slugger’s younger brother Jamie is already signed up to the Spanish-based firm linked to Kinahan and run by top ex-fighter Matthew Macklin.

Kinahan was the target of a gun attack during an MGM weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin last February, which left one man dead and ignited a gang war.

Jamie Conlan has been part of the MGM setup since last year and posed for a photo with mob boss Kinahan when he joined the gym. The super-flyweight is unbeaten in 16 fights and is the reigning European champion.

Jamie Conlan and Daniel Kinahan 

Immediately after his controversial defeat this week, Michael said he was finished with amateur boxing, fuelling speculation he would join a pro outfit.

“I’ll never box for AIBA again, they’re cheating bastards, they’re paying everybody,” he raged.

“Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top,” he added in an expletive laden rant on live TV.

Missing out on medal means that Conlan’s options as a professional will have narrowed, making it more likely he could take up an offer from MGM, according to sources.

He admitted in interview yesterday that failing to win a medal will have a financial effect.

“Money-wise alone it would have added a few more zeroes, paid off the mortgage. That’s annoying,” he told The Star.

“When you think about it that way, it’s hard to take. I’m in this to make a better living for my daughter. I wanted to win gold for her,” he said.

“The more I think about it, it pisses me off,” he added.

Kinahan’s gym have been making sure they stayed friendly with the fighter ahead of what was expected to be a medal-winning Olympics for him.

Last year, MGM posted how Michael made a trip to Marbella after winning his World Championship gold medal in Bulgaria.

The post read: “He plans to do some training with his brother and will also be attending the sold-out professional show Lights out at the Plaza to cheer on the MGM boys and supporting Aspandem [Spanish charity] at the White Collar show on 29th August.” 

They quoted Michael as saying: “Jamie’s told me great things about the gym and the team, so I’m looking forward to experiencing it for myself.”

On Friday, MGM’s Twitter account hinted that a big announcement is on the way, posting: “Exciting news confirmed tonight. Hopefully we can release early next week.”

The Sunday World previously revealed how MGM has been actively rebuilding its reputation since the events in the Regency last February.

Several amateur fighters from Ireland, Scotland and the U.K. have been approached with offers of free accommodation, training and promotion in exchange for signing up to the team.

Macklin, who has no involvement in crime, has recently returned to Marbella after a long absence from his Costa gym.

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.

Michael also revealed this week how his coaches, his father John and Zaur Antia, feared that his fight was fixed.

“Zaur was told by a Russian that I was f**ked. Those were the words said to him, ‘your boy is f**ked’,” he said.

“This Russian said to Zaur ‘I can’t say anything about this or I’ll be killed,” he added in the interview with The Star.

“Then Zaur and my dad were running trying to get in contact with the OCI, to get into contact with Pat Hickey and try and get something sorted.”

Conlan has taken time in Rio to enjoy the beach with his family. He said the huge level of support from fellow boxers and fans has “made it a lot easier”.