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Daniel Kinahan’s UAE hopes in tatters as he is now ‘the forgotten man’ of boxing

Kinahan’s non-involvement in such a major new boxing initiative in the Middle East was noted by prominent US boxing writer Al Dawson.

Daniel Kinahan

Eddie Hearn© �INPHO/Emily Harney

Daniel Kinahan

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Sanctioned mob-boss Daniel Kinahan this week became the forgotten man of boxing – after sports management company Matchroom announced the first fight of its new ‘Champion’s Series’ in the Middle East.

Gangster Kinahan, whose boxing empire lies in tatters in the wake of sanctions imposed by the US in April, remained in hiding on Tuesday as Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom announced the major new boxing initiative.

Speaking at a press conference on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Hearn announced the Dmitry Bivol Gilbert ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez world title bout on September 5 as a “historic moment” for the emirate, with more high-profile, world championship fights planned.

The fight, which pits together two unbeaten boxers, represents the first of the new ‘Champions Series’ partnership between the emirate’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) and Matchroom.

“For us as a business this is just the start of a new world of boxing here in the Middle East and Abu Dhabi,” Hearn said.

Eddie Hearn© �INPHO/Emily Harney

“This is about bringing huge, elite sport to Abu Dhabi, but it’s also about growing the sport of boxing in this country as well,” he said. “We’re going to be putting plans together to make sure that this sport is being built from the ground up.”

Kinahan’s non-involvement in such a major new boxing initiative in the Middle East was noted by prominent US boxing writer Al Dawson.

Posting on Twitter, Dawson observed: “Not everything in Middle East boxing has to be Daniel Kinahan related.

“In April, the UAE issued ‘strict sanctions’ on the suspected narco-terrorist.

“Matchroom’s announcement is with DCT – a government body.

“It’s likelier that Matchroom is following UFC’s lead in Abu Dhabi.

Daniel Kinahan

“DCT, for instance, was instrumental in building, retaining and adjusting the Fight Island concept throughout the pandemic.

“They were uninterested in standalone boxing matches and instead pointed to Abu Dhabi’s activations in Jiu Jitsu and MMA for the growth they like to harness.

“Matchroom’s announcement is for a ‘champion’s series’ and hints at the type of activation Abu Dhabi likes – an ongoing partnership rather than a stand-alone Fury vs Joshua type bout.

“Eddie Heard has spoken at length about how he wants Matchroom to ‘copy what the UFC does’.

Mob boss Daniel Kinahan has been hiding out in Dubai since 2016, while his father Christy Senior and brother Christy Jnr are also based in the region.

Kinahan had used the UAE as a headquarters from which he assumed and grew a massive influence on the sport of boxing worldwide.

Such was the measure of this influence that by 2020 Top Rank boss Bob Arum called for Kinahan to be entrusted with finding a Middle East location for a potential unification showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Speaking in May of that year, Arum, a vastly experienced lawyer who once worked for President John F Kennedy’s administration, said: “We have great confidence in Dan. He is in effect our adviser regarding the Middle East.

“He is living there and has very, very good connections so we early on ceded to Dan the authority to explore opportunities in the Mideast on behalf of Top Rank …

“That is what Dan is looking into because everyone trusts Dan with handling that situation whether it’s Eddie, Frank or myself.

“Dan is like the captain when it comes to the practicalities of doing a fight in the Middle East. He is one of my favourite guys. No-nonsense, whose word is his bond.”

But, Arum turned on Kinahan in April of this year after the US announced sanctions against the mob boss – and police warned those involved in boxing that to do business with Kinahan meant they were involving themselves ‘with a criminal network.’

Further evidence of the chaotic erosion of the power Kinahan formerly wielded in the sport also manifested itself eight thousand miles distant from Abu Dhabi in California this week. reported on Wednesday how MTK – the now defunct boxing company co-founded by Kinahan – no longer has any legal representation in an ongoing civil racketeering case where it faces judgement for up to $2 million.

Judge John W. Holcomb granted a motion submitted by Californian based lawyer Michael Mancini to be relieved as MTK’s counsel after finding it ‘appropriate’ to do so ‘without hearing.’

The case against MTK and Kinahan in California concerns the allegedly illegal poaching of Mexican fighter JoJo Diaz but also sees Daniel Kinahan face allegations of drug trafficking, money-laundering and murder.’

In a signed declaration, submitted to the court earlier this month, Mr Mancini said his company has made MTK aware of the consequences of the development saying the company had “provided MTK USA with written notice of the consequences of being unable to appear in this action.”

He further stated that he had informed all relevant counsel of his motion to withdraw as legal counsel to MTK including lawyers for Daniel Kinahan.

“Counsel to Daniel Kinahan did not object,” he said.

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