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Fight deal Boxing tycoon Eddie Hearn says he was 'blinkered' when negotiating with Daniel Kinahan

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BRENTWOOD, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom sport is interviewed for TV while abiding to social distancing rules during the Matchroom Fight Camp Media Brunch at the Matchroom HQ on July 29, 2020 in Brentwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

BRENTWOOD, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom sport is interviewed for TV while abiding to social distancing rules during the Matchroom Fight Camp Media Brunch at the Matchroom HQ on July 29, 2020 in Brentwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

BRENTWOOD, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom sport is interviewed for TV while abiding to social distancing rules during the Matchroom Fight Camp Media Brunch at the Matchroom HQ on July 29, 2020 in Brentwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

BOXING promoter Eddie Hearn has again defended negotiating with gangster Daniel Kinahan - saying he was "blinkered" in his desire to arrange the the "biggest fight in history".

The high-profile promoter spoke directly with Kinahan to arrange a fight between his client, heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, and Tyson Fury over the summer.

After the deal was done, Fury sparked controversy by thanking Kinahan on social media for helping set up the clash.

Speaking to RTE 2FM'’s Game On programme yesterday, Hearn insisted that he had to deal with Kinahan in order to make the fight with Tyson Fury happen.

"For a boxing sense it is quite a difficult question because of the involvement he has had in the career of the likes of Tyson Fury.

"When we got asked, or when Tyson Fury said to us this is who you need to negotiate with, it wasn’t a surprise because he has been involved for a long period of time, like doing Tyson Fury’s deal with Frank Warren, ESPN and all sorts.

"There are a number of other fighters as well. For us it is trying to get deals done.

"Obviously there was a decision to step back from him on their side of the team and let the fight unfold with Bob Arum and Top Rank.

"We will deal with who are we requested to deal with to get a fight of that magnitude made."

He added: "I feel more the pressure of getting that over the line for my client Anthony Joshua who has a dream to be undisputed champion. I’m very blinkered to the fact that this is the biggest fight in boxing."

Kinahan had been central to negotiations with Hearn over staging the fight in the Middle East.

Then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was“taken aback” that a man linked to one of Europe’s most notorious drugs cartel was involved in a top level fight.

He said contact had been made between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the United Arab Emirates – where the fight was expected to be held – over the issue and that the government planned to speak to pay-tv broadcasters in relation to Kinahan’s involvement.

Following the backlash it was announced that Kinahan was taking a step back from involvement in boxing.

His involvement attracted the attention of the press around the world and led to questions about the involvement of criminal figures in the sport.

Kinahan helped set up his MGM boxing operation, which later changed its name to MTK, in Marbella with his pal Matthew Macklin in 2012 and it became a significant player in the boxing world - despite Kinahan’s links to crime.

The 2016 attack at the Regency Hotel during an MTK weigh-in led to the company pulling out of organising fights in Ireland.

It was announced in 2017 that Kinahan was no longer involved in MTK.


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