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How Tyson Fury’s social media post about Kinahan paved way for his ban from United States

Tyson Fury during the public workout at Castle Court Shopping Centre, Belfast.

Tyson Fury during the public workout at Castle Court Shopping Centre, Belfast.© PA

Tyson Fury with his wife Paris Fury

Tyson Fury with his wife Paris Fury© Action Images via Reuters

'Clash of the Clans' by Nicola Tallant

'Clash of the Clans' by Nicola Tallant

Sunday World

The sensational move to ban world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury from the US is set to have a huge effect on his career.

Despite his efforts to distance himself from Daniel Kinahan, sources say it is too little too late, and that he is intrinsically linked to the mob boss.

In an updated version of the bestselling book Clash of the Clans by Nicola Tallant, to be released this week, the relationship which developed between Fury and Kinahan in the run-up to US sanctions is laid bare.

Today we publish extracts of the book which traces the rise of the Kinahan mafia from the streets of Dublin to the highest echelons of organised crime and its ripple effects into the heart of professional boxing.

'Clash of the Clans' by Nicola Tallant

'Clash of the Clans' by Nicola Tallant

Just two months after Michael Conlan’s New York victory, a very strange sight indeed greeted tourists in Marbella, as the first images of an obese Tyson Fury stomping through a water fountain began to emerge.

At 6ft 9ins, Fury had ballooned to over 26 stone, having existed on a diet of fast food and booze during a two-year-long hiatus from boxing.

But if Tyson’s fall from grace had been spectacular, it seemed his comeback would be an even more colourful stage show. In video chats with Saunders by his side, he later told fans:“Back training on a mission to put the record straight. I want to make my family, friends and fans proud again. I’m sorry I let everyone down. It will never happen again. If I can change and beat my demons so can you. I’m living proof that anyone can come through the worst times in our lives no matter what we must battle through and all help and love each other. I’m here to help others like they helped me.”

Fury’s future seemed very uncertain, with so much weight to lose and so much work to get his fitness back to any level that could see a return to the ring. But he was determined, as were the team behind him. Around him were MTK’s finest. Trainers Danny Vaughan and Ben Davison, boxers Thomas Stalker, Paddy Barnes — and other stars on the books who would help him spar and encourage him ever onwards towards a dream clash with Anthony Joshua. He ran in the mornings, sparred in the afternoon, dined on specially-prepared food to help him shed the pounds and up his fitness levels.

The video clips of Fury and Saunders came daily. They joked as they were chauffeured around Marbella in cars, offering fans a glimpse of the luxury villa where they were housed and even took on a virtual comedic double-act, clad head to toe in MTK emblazoned gym gear. At one point, Fury posted a selfie taken with Daniel Kinahan, although it was not clear where or when it had been taken.

Fury wasn’t born a giant. In fact, he was just one pound in weight when he came into the world in 1988, three months premature, the son of an Irish Traveller family in Manchester. When he survived, his father John named him Tyson, after his own hero, the former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

From the age of 10 he was in the ring under the tutelage of John, a former professional boxer himself. During his amateur career he represented both Ireland and England — and only made his professional debut in 2008 at the age of 20, against a Hungarian fighter who he knocked out in the first round. He went from strength to strength after that, defeating opponents and thrilling the crowds in equal measure with his theatrical performances in and outside the ring. In 2015 he famously beat Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko, the reigning world champion. But when it came to the rematch, Fury put off the fights time and again, citing injury and eventually mental illness. Out of the ring he was courting controversy, too. At one point during that year, a petition had been handed in to the BBC to remove him from a list of sports personalities of the year, after comments he made to a journalist were deemed homophobic. He denied he was, but Fury had never been quiet about his views, having claimed he would “hang” his sister if he deemed her to be promiscuous, remarked that “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back” and later insulted Jewish people.

“Everyone just do what you can, listen to the government follow everybody like sheep, be brainwashed by all the Zionist, Jewish people who own all the banks, all the papers all the TV stations. Be brainwashed by them all,” he said.

And the cherry on top of his controversial statements was when he went on to compare the existence of transgender people to the practice of bestiality, claiming sexual relations with animals would be legalised within 10 years.

By February 2016, Fury’s world collapsed when he was discovered by UK Anti-Doping to have the presence of nandrolone in a sample of his blood taken 16 months previously, also testing positive for cocaine. Fury embarked on a dark period of depression, boozing and drug taking, losing his title, and was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control. “They say I’ve got a version of bipolar,” he told Rolling Stone magazine around that time. “I’m a manic depressive. I just hope someone kills me before I kill myself….I’ve been out drinking, Monday to Friday to Sunday, and taking cocaine. I can’t deal with it and the only thing that helps me is when I get drunk out of me mind.”

Tyson Fury with his wife Paris Fury

Tyson Fury with his wife Paris Fury© Action Images via Reuters

Trainer Ben Davison would later say that Fury was struggling in many ways when he was introduced to Daniel Kinahan in early 2017. He had the threat of legal cases hanging over him, financial worries, was drinking tequila for breakfast and was in bad health.

“At that point, Tyson was questioning everything about himself, even his own existence,” said Davison. “To have somebody come along and say ‘don’t worry, I believe in you, I’ve got your back’ was a godsend to him. Daniel gave him the footings to start again, a positive outlook and a pathway back to the top. It was huge for Tyson.”

But Kinahan hadn’t only offered Fury a shoulder to cry on, he had also given him a glimpse into a sparkling future, one of unimaginable wealth, where all his worries were left behind. A glorious return to the ring and a place where family, friends and even foes would gaze in wonder at the mighty Gypsy King.

Under MTK Tyson Fury had blossomed and the training regime and diet he was on had helped him lose pounds in weight and brought him back to looking like an athlete. But the fallout from his breakdown was still reverberating and, in February 2018, he was stripped of his last heavyweight championship title.

Fury had for some time been at loggerheads with UK Anti Doping and the British Boxing Board of Control. Since the cocaine and nandrolone findings he had been fighting to get his licence back, accusing the agency of delaying unfairly and keeping him out of work. He officially announced his comeback with MTK, just a month before a hearing of his case was due to take place which had the potential outcome of landing him with a four year ban. Fury didn’t attend the National Anti Doping Panel hearing, but UKAD complained about the legal costs of the case and the potential that it could become insolvent if it lost.

In December of 2017, UKAD announced they had agreed with Fury and his brother Hughie, and the BBBoC, to resolve the charges. Fury had blamed his high nandrolone levels on eating uncastrated wild boar and the BBBofC said it would consider renewing his licence — which it did, early in 2018. Just months later, Fury announced he’d signed a multi-fight deal with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and took on Albanian Sefer Seferi in his first comeback fight — winning in the fourth round. The fight was shown on BT Sport, and his next outing on the undercard at Carl Frampton’s Windsor Park event in Belfast was watched by more than 800,000 live viewers. A month before, Frampton had announced his full managerial contract with MTK saying: “Although I have always been delighted with the advisory role MTK Global played in my career, I’m very happy and proud to upgrade the agreement to a full managerial one.

Everyone can see what MTK Global is doing in the world of boxing. They seem to be taking over and they’re signing quality fighters all over the world.”

But it was the meeting of Fury and Deontay Wilder which was the most anticipated of all the fights and by August, contracts for the Las Vegas clash were signed, sealed and delivered.

It was the big money fight with pay per view audiences in the US on Showtime and in the UK on BT Sports Box Office. Each of the boxers was said to be guaranteed a base purse of $4 million, with more than $10 million extra in their cut of the pay per view audience. In the end, the fight was a huge disappointment and finished on a split decision draw, meaning Wilder retained his WBC title.

Before the end of the year, the company announced the appointment of Bob Yalen as its new president. Yalen was a boxing megastar and a member of the Hall of Fame in the US and when he sat down to do a lengthy interview with the Leave It In The Ring podcast, he spoke in glowing terms about Daniel Kinahan, saying: “I can’t fault him.”

Fury had risen like a phoenix from the ashes and following his Las Vegas comeback both he and Wilder had announced themselves winners and called out World Champion Anthony Joshua, with the Gypsy King even chanting “chicken, Tyson chicken” at his would-be opponent.

Afterwards Fury had secured himself a five-fight contract with ESPN and Top Rank worth an estimated $100 million and won the first two, then followed up with a rematch with Wilder which he also won hands down. A furious Wilder activated a rematch clause but that was put off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, Fury had continued to eye up the big prize ­— a fight with world champion Joshua. Fury’s was a story that seemed quaint and simple, until a one-minute selfie video threatened to change it all.

“Just after getting off the phone with Daniel Kinahan,” he announced in his broad Manchester accent on a Twitter video in June. “Ehhm.… He just informed me that the biggest fight in British boxing history has just been agreed.”

With that he broke into one of his signature laddish chants: “Get them my boy… Ehhhm… A big shout out to Dan, he got this done, literally… over the line. The two fight deal — Tyson Fury versus Anthony Joshua — next year… one problem… I’ve got to smash Deontay Wilder’s face right in in the next fight. Ehhm… And then we go into the Joshua fight next year. So there we are. The Gypsy King v AJ on for next year, but there is a hurdle in the road called the Bronze Bomber aka ‘The Knock Out King’ and I will get onto him and knock him spark out and then we go onto the big fight. So a big thank you Dan for getting this deal over the line. All the best, God bless you all and see you soon.”

Within days the clip had more than one million views and had sparked the biggest controversy about the involvement of organised crime in boxing since Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano testified to the US senate.

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