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Boxer Billy Joe Saunders thanks crime boss Daniel Kinahan, saying big fight 'wouldn't have happened' without him

In a video, the British boxer thanks Daniel Kinahan and MTK Global for coaching him.

Mob boss Daniel Kinahan

Neasa Cumiskey

Boxer Billy Joe Saunders has credited his 'adivsor' - crime boss Daniel Kinahan - following the confirmation of a major boxing fight.

Saunders (31) is scheduled to fight Mexican boxer Canelo Álvarez on May 8th to become the undisputed super-middleweight world champion.

In a video, the British boxer thanks Daniel Kinahan and MTK Global and credits the mob boss with his successful career.

“Big thank you obviously to MTK Global and also thank you to my advisor, Daniel, as well because without him, this fight wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

“He was the one who secured it over the line and gave me that bit of advice to say ‘yay or ‘nay’ and what I should do, so thank you very much.”

MTK Global was founded under a different name in 2012 by Kinahan (43), who has been named in the Irish High Court as the leader of an international organised crime gang.

MTK has repeatedly claimed Kinahan has stepped away from the company in recent years.

Kinahan says he is no longer involved in the company, but some of their boxers continually reference him when big bouts are being arranged.

His links to boxing and criminality were the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary earlier this month which focused on his involvement in major title fights.

British boxer Billy Joe Saunders has praised Kinahan on numerous occasions

Kinahan was central to a two-fight deal being signed last year between the current biggest names in boxing Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

News of his involvement led to strong condemnation from then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who said the Department of Foreign Affairs contacted authorities in the Middle East where Kinahan is based to highlight his involvement in organised crime.

Earlier this week, MTK announced that it is planning to launch an agency called MTK Football.

In a statement, MTK Global said that as they have “already conquered the world of combat sports,” it will turn its attention to managing footballers.

MTK’s newest chapter will be fronted by Danny Vincent (36), who they said has a “strong passion for football” and will be expanding their contacts worldwide.

Both Kinahan and MTK are named as subject to civil proceedings in the US over MTK’s signing of Joseph Diaz Jr as their first American world champion in their stable.

Diaz’s former management company Heredia Boxing Management Inc. subsequently filed a civil case against Daniel Kinahan and MTK alleging they ignored state and federal laws to ‘steal’ boxer Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz from Heredia Boxing Management Inc.

Lawyers for Heredia also alleged MTK convinced Diaz to sign by making a $100,000 ‘blood-money’ payment - money which they claim in legal papers that was earned from Kinahan’s involvement in organised crime.

Diaz was stripped of his world title recently after failing to make weight.

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