Billy Joe Saunders Gives His Thoughts On Daniel Kinahan

Could the loss of one of the most controversial figures in boxing result in a champion leaving the sport?

Speaking with IFL TV, WBO Super-Middleweight Champion discussed advisor and MTL Global founder Daniel Kinahan taking a break from the sport. The news comes after the recent backlash surrounding Kinahan’s involvement in boxing. Kinahan’s name has been linked to organized crime for a while, and while never charged of any convictions, he has been considered a “known crime associate” (via The High Court In Dublin) and adviser to an international crime family.

Pressure by high-ranking officials and major PPV distributions organizations resulted in Bahrain’s KHK cutting ties with Kinahan. Saunders (29-0) discussed his displeasures with the decision and even considered quitting the sport in which he has competed in since 2009.

“This is part of the reason why nothing has moved forward with me at the minute,” Saunders stated, via Boxing Scene. “There’s only one man I can trust and go away and work and tell him this is what I want to happen, and sometimes he’ll make it even better. Without a man you can trust in this game 100 percent, it’s something I don’t want to be involved in anymore.

“It’s about having somebody you can trust and go and get on with your business. Making fights is more stressful than getting ready to fight. I took a lot of advice from a very personal friend of mine in Daniel. He’s walking away from boxing, which is a big, big loss in my eyes. I don’t know if I want to be a part of it at this level anymore moving forward.”

In 2016 there was a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin before a fight night with MTK Global. It appeared to have been an attempted hit on Kinahan, according to Boxing Scene, as a result of the longstanding rivalry between the Kinahan and Hutch crime families. The United States has also banned him from the country. Kinahan was an advisor to not just Saunders, but Carl Frampton, Liam Smith, and WBC and lineal Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury.

In regards to Fury, he thanked Kinahan for getting a fight with Anthony Joshua agreed on (in principle) for 2021. Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Fury have since cut ties with Kinahan.

Saunders last fought in November, beating Marcelo Esteban Coceres via TKO. He beat Shefat Isufi for the WBO title back in May 2019. The 30-year-old’s license was recently suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control following controversial statements made at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

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