Tyson Fury’s pre-fight Zoom conference dodges questions about Daniel Kinahan | Tyson’s Fury
Boxing’s embarrassing determination to avoid the nasty truth about its often sordid activity was on full display Thursday night during a media conference call to publicize the world heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte at the stadium. from Wembley on April 23.
Earlier this week, boxing’s biggest news story of the year broke when the US Treasury announced it had imposed tough penalties on Daniel Kinahan, one of the sport’s most powerful men, who acted as a confidant and advisor to Fury and many others. major fighters in Britain and the United States. The US government also warned all fighters and promoters who worked with Kinahan to cut ties with him due to his alleged leadership of a criminal cartel.
Yet in a Zoom call featuring up to a hundred reporters, not a single question was asked of Fury, or his promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren, about the damage done to the already shaken reputation. boxing. The journalists invited to pose their questions to Fury have chosen to focus exclusively on routine questions about the preparation for the fight and the exuberant mood of the world champion as he prepares to defend his titles against Whyte in front of a crowd of 94,000 people per week on Saturday. Meanwhile, reporters working outside the parochial boxing media who were eager to ask Fury what he thought of the sanctions imposed on Kinahan, were frustrated.
All media was muted until called and so there was no way to break the omerta of silence that engulfs boxing when it comes to discussing influence deeply disturbing Kinahan. Based in Dubai and in exile from his native Ireland where he and his family face multiple allegations of criminal activity, Kinahan has been a source of great support for several boxers. They swear by his loyalty and generosity to them.
Last year, Fury took to social media to praise the crucial role Kinahan played in setting up a hugely lucrative showdown between him and Anthony Joshua. That fight didn’t materialize after a US judge ruled that Fury was contractually bound to meet Deontay Wilder first. Since then, Kinahan’s power base in boxing has grown significantly and two companies closely associated with him, MTK and Probellum, have grown.
Kinahan, who has no criminal convictions, has always denied any wrongdoing. Last month, it looked like he had taken another giant step in his concerted campaign to clean up his reputation. Mauricio Sulaiman, the head of the World Boxing Council, lamented that Kinahan was “a character crossed out and labeled as someone linked to criminal groups, thus creating prejudice against much of the global boxing community”. Sulaiman vigorously defended Kinahan and emphasized that he “will have our full support in his quest to bring benefits to boxing.”
Yet this week in Dublin, at a press conference of a completely different kind, the US government offered a $5 million reward for information that would lead to financial disruption or Kinahan’s arrest or conviction. , his father, his brother and four of their associates.
Gregory Gatjanis, associate director of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, said the Kinahan cartel would now be prioritized by US law enforcement in the same way it pursued the Italian Camorra, Japan’s Yakuza mafia and the Russian Izmaylovskaya.
Thursday night, in the deaf and flattering world of Zoom, it was as if this story had never happened. Fury is a highly intelligent world champion who has done tremendous work to develop a broader understanding of mental health. He is confident and intelligent enough to answer almost any question from the media. It would have been fascinating to hear Fury’s thoughts on the seismic events of this week – both for Kinahan and for boxing.
Instead, there was warm air and silence. A prominent news and investigative reporter, who works outside the boxing red light district, had waited an hour to ask a question. Like so many others, his opportunity never presented itself and so he only wrote one specific word to the rest of us on the call: “Awkward.”