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BT distances itself from Joshua-Fury fight in wake of Kinahan involvement

UK pay-television broadcaster BT Sport has said that it is not currently involved in discussions about broadcasting the proposed Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury fights amid controversy over the involvement of alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

Although the broadcaster did not explicitly rule out acquiring rights in the future, it clarified that it is not in negotiations, nor has it been offered rights to the fight.

The fight is a source of controversy in Ireland after Fury thanked Dubai-based Daniel Kinahan, who has been named in court as a senior figure in Irish organised crime, for his role in organising the fight.

This led to Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar saying he was “taken aback” when he heard of Kinahan’s involvement. It also prompted Neale Richmond of Ireland’s Fine Gael party to write to both BT and its pay-television rival Sky to ask them not to broadcast the proposed fight.

BT Sport said that it is “not currently involved in the Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua negotiations.”

The broadcaster added: “Our broadcast agreement for the fights of Tyson Fury is exclusively with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. We have had no dealings with [boxing promoter] MTK or any of their representatives for this fight.

“BT reviews all sports rights and broadcast deals with the appropriate levels of responsibility and scrutiny before deciding on a course of action. We cannot comment further on a potential fight which to the best of our knowledge is not confirmed, and which has not been offered to us.”

Matchroom Boxing chief executive Eddie Hearn said yesterday that (Thursday) that the two British boxers had agreed the terms of a two-fight deal.

Kinahan does not hold any criminal convictions in Ireland, but in 2018 the country’s Criminal Asset Bureau told the Irish High Court Kinahan had “managed and controlled” a significant cartel operation with links to drugs and weapon imports.