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World Boxing Council chief says meeting with Daniel Kinahan was 'innocent mistake'

Mr Saldivar previously described Kinahan as a 'character who has been crossed out and labelled as a person linked to criminal groups'

World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar with Daniel Kinahan and promoter Ahmet Öner in Dubai last month.

Neasa Cumiskey

World Boxing Council (WBC) president Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar has said that posing for a photo with drugs boss Daniel Kinahan and later giving him his “full support” was an “innocent mistake.”

He met the Irish gangster while being hosted at a Probellum boxing event in Dubai last month and later shared a photo of the pair with promoter Ahmed Öner.

There is no suggestion Ahmed Öner has any involvement in crime.

Mr Saldivar had described Kinahan as a “character who has been crossed out and labelled as a person linked to criminal groups, thus creating prejudice against a large part of the world boxing community".

He added: “I am nobody to judge any person, and that has been the policy of our organization, to combat all types of discrimination and abuse of power, before any person and group.

“That is why Daniel will have our full support in his quest to bring benefits to boxing.”

Now, Mr Saldivar has denied that the WBC has any affiliation with Kinahan after the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a press release last week in which it detailed sanctions against Kinahan, his father Christopher Snr and brother Christopher Jnr and other members of the “Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG) for their criminal activities”.

He said that his previous praise for the mob boss was an “innocent mistake” that he made due to “absolute ignorance”.

“The WBC has had for many years a large number of social responsibility campaigns focused on the prevention and awareness of the dangers of drug use,” he said in a statement.

“We have a wonderful program of talks given by a former DEA agent, Rocky Heron, who reaches thousands of people with his presentations.

“We have rescued many boxers and members of the boxing community around the world from the demons of addiction and we openly and constantly support rehabilitation clinics such as those of Julio Cesar Chavez and Aaron Silva, among others.

“In this way, I confirm that the World Boxing Council and all its members absolutely reject any action that is detrimental to human beings and we will continue, as always, in total compliance with the laws of all countries in the world.”

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