Paddy Barnes: 'People say Daniel Kinahan is a criminal but he has not been convicted of anything'
Two-time Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes has said he would have no issue with Daniel Kinahan cornering him when he makes his professional boxing debut later this year.
Barnes, 29, who turned pro following the recent games in Rio, signed with MGM Marbella gym and will be managed by its owner and founder, retired Anglo-Irish boxer Matthew Macklin.
However, Barnes’ decision to place his professional future in the hands of Macklin and MGM Marbella was the source of some controversy as the gym was recently searched by Guardia Civil as part of a crackdown on the Kinahan drugs cartel.
Indeed, the cartel, run by Christy Kinahan, has been in embroiled in a bloody feud with the Hutch gang, which, to date, has claimed 10 lives.
Kinahan’s son, Daniel, is thought to play a prominent role in operating the gym, which also houses the likes of Liam Smith, Martin Murray and Billy Joe Saunders.
- 'They are very fond of having slow news days' - Paddy Barnes not happy with media headline about Kinahan gym link
- Paddy Barnes signs with MGM as he begins life as a professional boxer
Speaking to the Sunday Business Post, Barnes claimed to be in no way unsettled by the links between the Kinahans and his new gym.
“None at all,” Barnes said of the Daniel Kinahan’s connection to the MGM Marbella.
“Because MGM is Matthew Macklin. He is the founder of the gym, and he is my manager and he’ll be looking after me.
“I have nothing to do with any criminality. Matthew Macklin is not a criminal. I am not a criminal. So if anyone wants to talk about criminality, and about Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan, they should go ask them themselves,” he said.
Daniel Kinahan’s alleged prominent position in the MGM was put to Barnes, who questioned whether or not the former was indeed a criminal or actually involved with the gym at all.
The Belfast native also asserted that he is not acquainted with any of the Kinahans.
“You’re telling me that, but where’s the facts and proof of it?”
“You’re telling me about the Kinahans. I don’t know anything about the Kinahans, I only know Matthew Macklin. But what has Daniel Kinahan been convicted of?”
Barnes went on to reiterate that, just because Daniel Kinahan has been mentioned in the media as being involved with the cartel that bears his name, does not make it the bone fide truth.
“So people need to be careful what they are saying if they are slandering people’s names. People are saying he’s a criminal, but he’s been convicted of nothing.
“Strange, isn’t it? He’s roaming the world free with no convictions and warrants for his arrest.”
The interview also revealed that Barnes signed with MGM Marbella prior to leaving for Rio, where he was shockingly upset by Samuel Carmona in the Round of 16.
Furthermore, Barnes, who is expected to debut in Belfast before the end of the year, claimed that it would not bother him were Daniel Kinahan to be in his corner come fight night.
“If he wants to sit in my corner, he can sit in my corner,” he said.
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.