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Knockout blow Paul Mescal quits MTK gym with film company saying they were unaware of links to crime boss Daniel Kinahan

A spokesperson for the Irish actor told Independent.ie that the production company he was filming with weren’t aware of the gym’s links to Kinahan

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Normal People actor Paul Mescal at the MTK gym in Sydney last week

Normal People actor Paul Mescal at the MTK gym in Sydney last week

Normal People actor Paul Mescal at the MTK gym in Sydney last week

Normal People actor Paul Mescal is no longer training at an Australian gym linked to crime boss Daniel Kinahan, after a video emerged of him exercising at the facility.

A spokesperson for the Irish actor told Independent.ie that the production company he was filming with weren’t aware of the gym’s links to Kinahan – and that Mescal is no longer training there.

Over the weekend boxing company MTK, which was founded by Kinahan, posted a video on Twitter of Mescal training at their gym in Sydney where Covid restrictions have been eased in recent weeks.

The footage was uploaded in the same week that MTK Global was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation over its links to organised crime.

Mescal, who is undertaking boxing training for a new acting role, was criticised over the appearance with Fine Gael TD Neal Richmond describing it as "spectacular error of judgment”.

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Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond. (NI Assembly/PA)

Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond. (NI Assembly/PA)

Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond. (NI Assembly/PA)

Today in a statement a spokesperson for Mescal said: “Goalpost Pictures and Chapter 2 are in production in Australia on a new feature film starring Paul Mescal.

“As part of his preparation for the film, Paul has been required to undertake boxing training.

“The production was not aware of the connection between the gym and the man named by Irish courts as a crime boss. Paul is no longer training at the facility,” they added.

In the two-and-a-half-minute clip the actor, who rose to fame for his portrayal of Connell Waldron in the BBC drama Normal People, is seen taking a number of punches to the body while wearing a body protector.

In their Twitter post MTK Global said: "Great to see @NormalPeople legend @mescal_paul celebrate his 25th birthday with the team at MTK Sydney. | @bondiboxingclub".

But Mr Richmond TD, who has been outspoken about Daniel Kinahan's involvement in boxing, said that people must be aware of who the sports company are connected with.

"This is a spectacular error of judgment from Mr Mescal or more likely his own management and PR team," he told the Irish Independent.

"Daniel Kinahan's ties to MTK still remain a hot topic, despite their assertions. The world must be aware that MTK and anyone involved with Daniel Kinahan is toxic.

"It's a disappointment but I have no doubt Mr Mescal will acknowledge this error of judgement or his ignorance of what and who lives behind MTK," Mr Richmond added.

Since being founded in 2012 MTK has opened gyms all over the world, and in 2019 announced a "strategic partnership" with Bondi Boxing Club in Sydney.

At the time MTK described the partnership as a "powerful opportunity" for the company to significantly expand its operation in Australia.

Only last Monday an investigative documentary was aired by BBC Panorama on Daniel Kinahan and his ties to the boxing world.

It focused on his involvement with MTK, who have said that he still advises some of its boxers despite previously attempted to distance themselves from him.

Lawyers for MTK Global told the programme: “It is true that Mr Kinahan provides some personal advice to a number of boxers managed by MTK Global and we are instructed that Mr Kinahan also provides such advisory services to boxers who are managed by other worldwide boxing management companies too.”

They said Kinahan had never owned, controlled or been an employee of MTK Global, and that he has no links to criminality.

He has previously been named in the Irish High Court as directing the day-to-day operations of the Kinahan Organised Crime Gang.

Within days of the expose airing journalists who worked on the BBC Panorama team were informed of threats to their safety.

They were informed of the threat by the PSNI who provided them with security.

Joanna Carr, Head of BBC Current Affairs said: “The BBC places the utmost priority on the safety of our teams, whose journalism plays a vital role in a free society. It is despicable and intolerable if thugs think they can muzzle a free press through intimidation. We will continue to throw light into even the murkiest of corners.”

The programme spoke to several UK boxing insiders who are alarmed about his power and influence, but that most were too afraid to appear on camera.

Former world-champion turned boxing manager Barry McGuigan was the only one who spoke on-the-record and said there was an element of terror around the Kinahan name.

“There is no doubt that there is an intimidation effect, there is no question about that. If we were to believe what we believe, this is a very dangerous man.

“Someone has got to look out for this sport. They really need to look at this situation very carefully, because it’s bloody dangerous,” Mr McGuigan told the programme.

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