Thursday 29 September 2016

Boxer signs deal with gym linked to Kinahan crime boss

Robin Schiller

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

Boxer Paddy Barnes poses in an MGM gym jumper
Boxer Paddy Barnes poses in an MGM gym jumper

Olympian Paddy Barnes has signed his first professional contract with a gym that was searched by police investigating the Kinahan cartel.

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The double Olympic medal winner, who captained the Irish team at Rio 2016, has been unveiled by the MGM gym in Marbella - which was founded by retired professional Matthew Macklin, who has no involvement with crime.

Mobster Daniel Kinahan, a son of international drug trafficker Christy Kinahan, is heavily involved in the running of the Spanish gym.

It was recently raided as part of an operation by Spanish police investigating the murder of Gary Hutch (33) last year.

Dubliner James Quinn (34) was arrested in relation to the operation and is currently facing charges before a Spanish court for the murder of Hutch.

An MGM-sponsored event - Clash of the Clans - was taking place in the Regency Hotel earlier this year when a six-man hit team stormed the hotel, murdering cartel lieutenant David Byrne (33).

Daniel Kinahan is believed to have been the primary target of the hit.

The 29-year-old Belfast boxer had a number of options when making the decision to turn professional last week but he said he believed MGM was the perfect choice.

Barnes, who has no involvement in crime, said: "I've enjoyed every minute of my time as an amateur and my achievements are something I am very proud of.

"Representing Ireland has always been my ambition and now I hope to emulate that success as a professional.

"After the Olympics, there were many offers on the table, but being part of Team MGM was the natural choice and one I'm delighted with."

Separately, Michael Conlan, who hit headlines at the Rio Olympics after blasting the judges and accusing them of cheating, has also signed a professional boxing contract.

Conlan (24), who is from Belfast and has represented Ireland throughout his amateur career, took to social media yesterday to announce his deal with Top Rank.

The promoter counts Manny Pacquiao, whose fight against Floyd Mayweather last year was billed the fight of the century, among the boxers and its roster.

A delighted Conlan posted a picture of himself against a background of a floor with Top Rank Inc writing on it, with the caption "It's done."

Top Rank, which was founded in 1966, also posted a message of welcome for the fighter.

Irish Independent

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