BBBofC: We Do Not License MTK Or Probellum, We License Individuals

Assurances have been made to the WBO that the bantamweight title fight in Liverpool does not include the involvement of longtime boxing adviser and accused crime lord Daniel Kinahan.

A brief exchange between the WBO and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) discussed the initial round of major headlines surrounding the controversial Irishman, who was identified by the US Department of Treasury as a key member of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group. The US government issued sanctions on Kinahan and six other members of the KOCG, along with three businesses tied to the crime group—all with whom US individuals and companies are forbidden to conduct business.

Of concern to the WBO was the involvement of lead promoter Probellum and managerial conglomerate MTK Global in this Friday’s show in Liverpool, originally headlined by WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21KOs) in a mandatory defense versus England’s Paul Butler (33 -2, 15KOs). Casimero is no longer on the show, though Butler—previously managed by the now disbanded MTK Global and is promoted by Probellum—remains in the main event in a vacant interim title fight versus replacement opponent Jonas Sultan (18-5, 11KOs).

“[O]fficial boxing press reports indicate that Mr. Kinahan, whether as an advisor or manager capacity, has ties with promotional outlets MTK Global and Probellum,” Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, longtime WBO president addressed to BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith on April 12, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Therefore, considering the foregoing, kindly advise the WBO whether the aforementioned promotional companies are duly licensed by the BBBofC, who is their official representative and who on their behalf requested the applicable promoter license to conduct professional boxing events in the United Kingdom.”

The matter was immediately addressed by the BBBofC, who assured the Puerto Rico-headquartered sanctioning body that Friday’s event is above board.

“I can confirm we do not [license] the named companies,” Smith confirmed to Valcarcel in a letter copied to WBO head counsel Gustavo Oliveiri and executive director Diana Melendez. “The British Boxing Board of Control license individuals and Promoter Lee Eaton is the named Promoter for MTK and Phil Jeffries is the named Promoter for Probellum, although Lee Eaton is associated in those promotions.

“The BBBofC has been made aware of the sanctions and will [cooperate] with any requests from those authorities involved, of which at present we have not received.”

MTK Global has since announced its plans to cease operations by month’s end. Probellum remains in business and—for now—unaffected by the US sanctions in place or by the swarm of accusations attempting to tie Kinahan to the fledging promotional outfit. Kinahan, MTK and Probellum are all based in Dubai, although the two companies were not sanctioned or even named by the US Treasury as having direct ties to the controversial figure.

Friday’s show moves forward with its makeshift main event though also without the services of at least one televised platform.

A previously announced TV deal with Eurosport was dissolved this week, dropping the final two shows of a previously agreed upon five fight card series according to a recent breaking news story by Riath Al-Samarrai for the Daily Mail. Probellum announced broadcast deals with fuboTV in North America and ESPN Knockout in Latin America. Neither platform appears to be involved with Friday’s event, nor does any mention of Probellum any longer appear on fuboTV’s website.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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