Tyson Fury chose to avoid discussing the troubling news story that continues to reverberate as he met the media in person for the first time since the US Treasury announced last week that it had imposed sanctions against a leading figure involved in boxing. Daniel Kinahan, who has been subject for years to allegations that he leads a notorious drug cartel, has advised and acted on behalf of many fighters, including Fury.
The US authorities have offered a $5m reward for further information that could lead to the exiled Irishman being arrested and then brought to trial to answer numerous serious criminal allegations. An American state spokesman also warned that anyone in boxing who is still involved with Kinahan needs to cut all ties with him or risk being implicated in his activities. Kinahan has no criminal convictions and has always denied any wrongdoing.
Fury, speaking to the Guardian, stressed that he was not willing to discuss any business but his own and that he was “just a boxer” who was not qualified to comment on the US government’s stance. Later, when meeting a small group of national newspaper journalists, including the Guardian, Fury repeated: “It’s none of my business. I keep my own business to myself, that’s it.”
When it was pointed out that his American promoter, Bob Arum, had admitted over the weekend that he had paid Kinahan more than $4m for four fights featuring Fury between 2019 and 2021, the world heavyweight champion said: “That’s Bob Arum’s personal business. He can spend it all on gummy bears if he wants to. What someone does with their money is out of my control.”
Fury and his British promoter, Frank Warren, were at Wembley to publicize the title fight on Saturday between Fury and Dillian Whyte. Warren said: “Let me make a couple of things very clear – one, Daniel Kinahan has nothing to do with this show and two, as Tyson said, he was unaware of any payments made by Top Rank to Daniel Kinahan.”
Warren and Fury were asked if they felt concern about the implications for their sport and the veteran British promoter said: “I am concerned, but I’m also concerned about some of the misinformation that’s going around. We’re not stupid people. All of us understand what has happened from the US Treasury. It’s been going on now for three years and we all know what we have to do and we will not be breaking the law. We’ve never broken the law.”
Fury joked: “I had a speeding ticket once.”
Warren then said: “Is it a bad image for boxing? We sold 94,000 tickets in two days. Are we going to do good business on pay-per-view? Yes we are. We are very conscious about what we have to do as the guardians of the sport but we are not policemen. It’s only last week that [allegations surrounding Kinahan have] eat something.”
Asked if the Kinahan saga, which holds such serious implications for boxing, has been distracting, Fury shook his head. “Not really, it’s got nowt to do with me, has it? If I say there’s a war going on in Ukraine and people ask me about that, it’s got nowt to do with me. I keep my business to myself. I’ve got my own troubles to look after with six kids and a wife nagging me to death for not being at home to help with the kids. I’ve got a lot more to think about than other people’s business. I’ve got a man who wants to punch my face in [on Saturday] and I’ve got to deal with that. Anything else is out of my control.”
When pressed to admit that it is a significant story, Fury said: “I don’t really take any notice of the media. I know what the media can do and I was the victim of a witch-hunt in 2015 and 2016 [when he was suffering from mental health problems and retired for a year from boxing].”
Earlier on Tuesday, it was confirmed that Bob Yalen had resigned as chief executive of MTK Global. The American is said to have made his decision by him amid mounting pressure as scrutiny of Kinahan became a public priority of the US government. MTK was founded under the name of MGM by Kinahan and the former boxer Matthew Macklin in 2012. The company has tried to protest that it is no longer associated with him but various MTK boxers, including Fury, have posted photographs of themselves with Kinahan on social half.
There was no MTK logo on Fury’s tracksuit at Wembley and he said: “This was made for me to wear today and these are all my sponsors. That’s it. I have never been sponsored by MTK ever.”
Reminded that he has worn the MTK logo before, his previously jocular mood became sharper. “That was from 2017 until 2020. Three years and that was it. Donate. End of. Any more probing questions that you can think of to trip me up? Because you can’t. There is nothing that I have to hide. Is there any more?”
Asked about the photograph taken of him and Kinahan smiling together in Dubai in February, Fury said: “A picture doesn’t mean I am a criminal. There could be a criminal in this building now. It doesn’t mean I am involved in his criminal activity does it?”
Whyte, meanwhile, was notably absent from the open workout. “I am very disappointed he is not here today,” Warren said. “Apparently he is stuck on a plane or whatever it is. He will certainly be here tomorrow [at the press conference].”
Fury added, with a big smile. “I’m sure he will because if he doesn’t show up, there’ll be murders. There’ll be trouble. [Dillian] you’d better show your ass.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism