World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was already in full swing at a pre-fight promotional event when news broke that his former management company was abruptly closing.
MTK Global’s announcement follows a week of cascading pressure since US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin announced a $5 million reward for information that will lead to ‘financial destruction’ of the Kinahan criminal gang or the arrest and conviction of its leaders. MTK has blamed “unprecedented levels of unfair scrutiny and criticism” since company founder Daniel Kinahan was hit with financial penalties. Daniel Kinahan was named as one of the leaders of the gang.
The only questions posed to Fury and WBC title challenger Dillian Whyte at Wednesday’s press conference came from the top table host.
The Associated Press’ first attempt to quiz Fury on MTK’s shutdown was met with silence as he posed for photos with Whyte after the crowded event where the assembled media were never asked to pose questions.
Fury was leaving the room when he was then asked if he would help US authorities – as requested by the Treasury Department – with information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of members of the Kinahan gang.
Fury’s response was to raise his middle finger to footage released by the fight organizers.
Fury was previously promoted on MTK’s website as “the best heavyweight on the planet”, but the Briton said he cut ties two years ago. MTK has gone out of business despite claiming in recent days that Kinahan has not been involved with the management company since 2017.
“Since major promoters informed us that they would be severing all ties with MTK and no longer working with our fighters,” MTK said, “we have made the difficult decision to cease operations at the end of this month.”
Even before the US announcement last week, Kinahan had already been identified by the High Court in Dublin as a senior organized crime official involved in international drug trafficking operations and firearms offences.
Kinahan was pictured with Fury in February in Dubai and has tried to arrange fights for Fury in the past.
“This man is a boxing fan, I can’t say much more about it,” Fury said after open practice on Tuesday. “There’s not much more of a relationship, there isn’t.”
Fury still declined the opportunity to say on Tuesday whether he had severed ties with Kinahan.
“It’s none of your business or anyone else’s,” Fury said. “My business is my business, your business is yours, and that’s it.”
Fury himself has been a controversial figure. There was a two-year backdated doping ban for having high levels of nandrolone in urine samples provided after fights in 2015. Fury also had to reapply for his UK boxing license, which was suspended for separate incidents of drug use and medical issues.
Fury acknowledged “ups and downs” on Wednesday.
“A drug addict, an alcoholic, everything else that I’m not ashamed of,” Fury said. “It’s part of who I am.”
He can be sure to have a crowd of support when more than 90,000 fight fans gather at Wembley on Saturday night.
“I’m ready to do whatever it takes,” Fury said. “I’m that kind of fighter where anything I have to do, I’ll do. Anything, victory by any means necessary, I’ll do. I’m not afraid to take risks. J risked my life, so this is nothing new.
More AP Boxing: https://apnews.com/hub/boxing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports