EXCLUSIVE: Boxers told to deny any links to Kinahan to fight on Sky

EXCLUSIVE: Boxers told to deny any links to Kinahan to fight on Sky

June 2, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Boxers are told to deny they have any links to wanted man Daniel Kinahan if they want to fight on Sky Sports in a letter circulated by leading promoter Boxxer

  • Sportsmail has seen a letter sent to fighters by Boxxer, a promotional company
  • They are one of two promotional groups used by Sky Sports for their fights
  • The letter wants fighters to give assurances they are not working with Probellum due to allegations they have links to alleged gang lord Daniel Kinahan 
  • Probellum has strongly insisted that they have no links to wanted man Kinahan
  • In April, Kinahan had a $5m bounty slapped on his head by the US government 

Boxers have been told by a leading promoter that to appear on Sky Sports they must provide assurances they are not working with Probellum – a company that has been linked to Daniel Kinahan by one of the most prominent figures in US boxing.

Sportsmail has seen a version of a letter sent to fighters by Boxxer – one of two promotional groups used by Sky – in which they are required to sign a document stating they are not working with Probellum or the recently-shuttered MTK Global due to ‘adverse publicity’ around claims made about their connections to Kinahan.

The letters issued by Boxxer do not name Kinahan, but the development follows sanctions imposed by the US government on the alleged gang lord on April 13.

That action has put a burning spotlight on boxing, owing to Kinahan’s vast connections in the sport, which included co-founding MTK Global in 2012 before he left in 2017, and previously advising several fighters, including Tyson Fury, who says he cut ties in 2020.

Links between Kinahan and the promotional group Probellum were hinted at in April by the veteran US promoter Bob Arum, albeit with no evidence.

A promotional company has sent a letter to fighters asking for assurances that they are not working with Probellum if they want to fight on Sky Sports shows due to links to wanted man Daniel Kinahan. Probellum has strongly denied that they have any links to Kinahan

In an interview on April 29, focusing on the breakdown of his business relationship with Kinahan, Arum said of the alleged gangster’s future in boxing: ‘It’s finished… MTK have announced that as of the end of this month they are out of business and I assume Probellum will soon follow because there is not a network that will take a fight where Probellum is involved.’

Prior to closing, MTK insisted Kinahan has had no ‘involvement’ with them since 2017, and Probellum have strenuously denied having any direct business connection to the Irishman. Probellum remain in business.

But Arum’s allegations about Kinahan have refocused attention on Probellum, whose name was registered as a trademark by MTK Global, according to the BBC. The trademark was then purchased upon Probellum’s formation in 2021, with Probellum explaining: ‘The brand name was liked and it was bought, simple as that.’

Bob Arum (pictured) hinted at links between Kinahan and the promotional group Probellum in April, albeit with no evidence. Probellum has long denied the promotion has any Kinahan links

Attention was also generated by a social media post in March, when a Pakistani politician, Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti, tweeted pictures of himself with Kinahan, alongside the message: ‘Met Probellum on aligning vision on boxing for Punjab and how to make this sport bigger for our youth. Looking forward to hosting Daniel in Lahore to discuss Pakistan’s first international fight with foreign world-class boxers.’ 

Probellum said the post was ‘misleading’, with the explanation that the minister had held a meeting with an executive of Probellum in Dubai, but it was separate from his meeting with Kinahan.

In April, Sportsmail revealed that Eurosport had shelved plans to broadcast future shows staged by Probellum.

Citing the ‘adverse publicity’ around Probellum and MTK Global, although in reality around Kinahan, Boxxer have now distributed a letter to fighters under the subject: ‘Participation in events broadcast by Sky UK Limited.’

Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has come under fire for his connections to Kinahan, who was his advisor in the past. The Gypsy King has said he cut ties with Kinahan back in 2020  

To appear on those shows, the fighters must sign a declaration that reads: ‘Due to the adverse publicity linking MTK Global and Probellum to various sanctioned parties I confirm I do not employ, engage or work with MTK Global or Probellum, nor will I transfer any monies, including any monies that Boxxer has paid to you in connection with the attendance at the event(s) and/or the Sky agreement to either such entity.’

A Probellum spokesman told Sportsmail: ‘Probellum has instructed law firm Reed Smith to take immediate legal action against Boxxer and its CEO Ben Shalom over highly defamatory and untrue statements. There is no connection between the management or ownership of Probellum and any of the individuals or businesses sanctioned by the US Treasury as Boxxer has been suggesting.

‘Probellum respects and understands the breadth of the sanctions and will continue to comply with all rules, regulations and requirements.’

Neither MTK Global nor Probellum are subject to any embargoes, sanctions, trade controls or investment restrictions, and they are not the subject of any criminal investigation.

Sky Sports declined to comment. The now-ceased MTK Global could not be reached.

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