A homecoming return to the ring for boxing golden girl Katie Taylor is already causing controversy because of mob boss Daniel Kinahanâs links to the sport.
Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn has suggested that Katie could fight in Ireland in April and has named MTKâs Natasha Jonas as a considered opponent.
However Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said that even though Taylor and Jones have done nothing wrong, the toxic influence of Kinahan would prevent the clash going ahead on Irish soil.
âKatie Taylor is a hero to many of us and it would be wonderful to see her fighting in Ireland. However, as with everything at the moment in boxing, the involvement of MTK raises serious concerns,â the politician said.
âGiven that Natasha Jonas is an MTK fighter, how can we be sure that this match wonât be brought about under the influence of the toxic Daniel Kinahan?
âAny involvement of this drug lord who is actively trying to sportswash his real criminal self must be called out and prevented. There is still no clear separation between MTK and Kinahan. Until there is, any fight involving an MTK fight must be met with hard scepticism.â
Richmond was one of a number of high ranking Irish politicians who helped scupper Kinahanâs attempts to reinvent himself as a boxing powerbroker after he was named by Tyson Fury as the fight fixer between the heavyweight star and opponent Anthony Joshua.
For years MTK had distanced themselves from Kinahan due to his links with organised crime but following the announcement of the biggest fight in boxing history he was applauded by a host of itâs boxers, trainers and even former CEO Sandra Vaughan who said Ireland should be proud of his achievements.
Kinahan was forced out of a new role in a Bahrain sports foundation and retreated into the background again after outrage from Irish politicians, including then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and sports commentators. He remains in Dubai and wanted for criminal offenses in Ireland as the massive efforts by the Gardaâs Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau to dismantle his mob continues.
MTK fighters have not performed in Ireland since the Regency Hotel weigh in during which criminal David Byrne was murdered by a hit team understood to have been targeting Kinahan, the co-founder of MTK, then named MGM.
A number of attempts by the company to hold fights here failed due to security concerns and led to a frustrated Vaughan issuing a “media ban” for a year in the country.
Sources have told the Sunday World that the same security concerns are still live due to the on going rivalry in Kinahanâs mob embroiled in a violent feud which has claimed 18 lives to date and which has frequently spilled over into boxing.
Katie Taylor has no connections to MTK and has ignored previous callouts by its boxer Chantelle Cameron for a fight. However Hearn has now indicated that he is considering a fight for her with an MTK signing and possibly in Ireland.
âYou’re going to see her out at the end of April. She wants those big fights, Natasha Jonas is someone weâve talked about. I love the fight, hopefully we get the crowds back, we could do that in Leeds, Liverpool or even in Ireland,â he told Sky Sports.
âThere are still big challenges for her â¦.. Itâs definitely April for Katie Taylor and we are going to announce that fight in a couple of weeks.â
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