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bro-mance How boxer Matthew Macklin became 'best friends' with crime boss Daniel Kinahan 

"I met him at the airport and from there we became friends. Matthew is probably my best friend," Daniel Kinahan has previously said.

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Daniel Kinahan (right) with best pal, boxer Matthew Macklin

Daniel Kinahan (right) with best pal, boxer Matthew Macklin

Daniel Kinahan (right) with best pal, boxer Matthew Macklin

Mob boss Daniel Kinahan once described Matthew Macklin as his “best friend” but the former boxer discovered the downsides of that friendship when he was refused entry to the US this week.

Macklin was due to fly to Las Vegas to commentate for Sky Sports on the super-featherweight unification fight between Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez tonight.

However, U.S. authorities refused him entry as they increase their scrutiny on those with links to Kinahan.

While Macklin has no involvement in organised crime, he has had a very public association with Kinahan for more than a decade.

The Sunday World first reported on the ties between Macklin and members of the Kinahan cartel 12 years ago – two years before the boxer and Daniel Kinahan co-founded MGM Marbella, which later became MTK.

The friendship between Macklin and Kinahan began in 2006 and grew substantially over the following years.

Speaking about their friendship in 2015, Kinahan said Macklin was probably his best friend.

"I had never met Macklin, although I knew of him," he told Boxing Monthly magazine.

"I only met him after the Jamie Moore fight in September 2006. He came over a week after the fight. I met him at the airport and from there we became friends. Matthew is probably my best friend."

After Kinahan befriended Macklin, cartel members regularly attended his fights and were pictured partying with him afterwards.

The Sunday World revealed how cartel members hosted crime summits while attending Macklin fights.

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Christy Kinahan arranged a major meeting between gangsters at a fight in Dublin in 2009.

At the time Finglas gang boss Eamonn ‘the Don’ Dunne was causing mayhem in Dublin’s underworld by ordering a succession of gang hits as he became increasingly paranoid.

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'Fat' Freddie Thompson at a Matthew Macklin fight in Birmingham

'Fat' Freddie Thompson at a Matthew Macklin fight in Birmingham

'Fat' Freddie Thompson at a Matthew Macklin fight in Birmingham

Christy Kinahan wanted a ceasefire as the killings were disrupting the drug business and he purchased 50 ringside seats for a Macklin fight at the National Stadium in Dublin and sent Daniel to host the night which was attended by crime figures including Dunne and his associate Brian O’Reilly and Fat Freddie Thompson.

The following year we published photographs of Macklin partying and hanging in Birmingham with Kinahan-linked criminals Dean Howe and Liam Brannigan who are serving sentences over a plot to murder Hutch-associate Gary Hanley.

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Matthew Macklin and Dean Howe

Matthew Macklin and Dean Howe

Matthew Macklin and Dean Howe

Brannigan’s cousin, Fat Freddie Thompson, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Daithi Douglas was also present on the same night.

Thompson’s crew and other cartel associates regularly attended Macklin’s fights at the time.

In 2011 the Sunday World travelled to Cologne in Germany to observe members of the underworld figures from Ireland and the UK congregating for Macklin’s WBA middleweight title fight defeat to Felix Sturm

Associate of Fat Freddie Thompson threatened the Sunday World team who watched criminal figures arrive for Macklin’s after-fight party in the Radisson Blu hotel, near the Lanxess arena.

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Matthew Macklin and Liam Brannigan

Matthew Macklin and Liam Brannigan

Matthew Macklin and Liam Brannigan

You f***ing grass. You’re not safe here,” our reporter was told by one Thompson associate.. “What are you doing here? You’ve got a wife and kids. You shouldn’t be here,” another said.

MGM Marbella was established the following year as Kinahan started to establish himself in the boxing world.

The gym soon became the unofficial headquarters for the cartel and the Kinahans and associates including Gary Finnegan, Kevin Lynch, Ian Dixon and Gary Hutch were regularly spotted there.

In 2013 Macklin hosted a charity event organised by the Kinahans to raise funds for sick kids.

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Daniel kinahan (left) and Ian Dixon (right)

Daniel kinahan (left) and Ian Dixon (right)

Daniel kinahan (left) and Ian Dixon (right)

Christy Snr and his two sons attended the event along with their Spanish-based associates and Irish and UK crime figures.

Daniel Kinahan fought at the event which attracted well-known figures from the world of boxing.

In 2015 gardai carried out a raid on a mansion in Coldwater Lakes beside Citywest Hotel in Dublin and discovered Macklin had been staying there.

The property had been owned by the Mansfield family but he handed it over to the Kinahan cartel as compensation after they had given him €4.5m to invest in a property deal with collapsed.

The property was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau earlier this month.

Macklin and Kinahan sold MTK in 2017 and despite repeated denials by the new management Kinahan continued to have an influence over the operation.

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Daniel Kinahan chats with Liam Brannigan at a Matthew Macklin weigh-in at the Citywest Hotel

Daniel Kinahan chats with Liam Brannigan at a Matthew Macklin weigh-in at the Citywest Hotel

Daniel Kinahan chats with Liam Brannigan at a Matthew Macklin weigh-in at the Citywest Hotel

Macklin was refused entry to the US this week amid increased scrutiny by US authorities into people with past or present links to Kinahan.

Sky Sports declined to comment on Macklin being refused entry to the US, but released a statement saying: "Matthew Macklin relinquished his interest in MTK in 2017, and has had no commercial dealings with Daniel Kinahan since.

"Matthew Macklin is not a named individual in the US sanctions, nor does he have any interest in, or prior dealings with, the named companies (in the detailed US sanctions). However, he will of course be fully compliant with any responsibilities which may arise from the sanctions."

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