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MTK Global to continue Irish exile – blame lack of desire for cooperation

Following murmurs in recent weeks that they may attempt to re-enter the scene in the Republic of Ireland, management outfit Mack The Knife (MTK) Global have today confirmed that they will continue their self-imposed exile.

At the end of last month, MTK reached out to Dublin boxer-manager-promoter Jay Byrne following the cancellation of the ‘The Beginning’ card set for the National Stadium.

Following a social media posting, MTK’s Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan stated that he hopes the outfit could could play a part in bringing big time boxing back to Dublin.

The super flyweight world title challenger and Commonwealth champion said that “I think they [MTK] should, first and foremost, sit down with Jay and other Irish promoters and work together to see if everyone can achieve more, build Irish boxing to where it needs to be – this is the golden age of Irish boxing.”

Contact was made between Byrne and MTK but no ‘sit down’ of all Irish promoters took place and, this morning, the United Arab Emirates-based company have announced that they will remain away from the Irish scene, instead focusing on expansion in other areas.

A statement posted online read:

Following talks with Irish boxing stakeholders, MTK Global has confirmed it will concentrate on global expansion plans.

With recent efforts to reach out to stakeholders within Irish boxing falling short, MTK Global today announces its intention to focus fully on its global business.

Despite confirmation from the Boxing Union of Ireland there has never been a ban on MTK Global fighters or promoters working in Ireland, the necessary desire for all parties to pull together for the good of Irish boxing is still missing.

MTK Global’s Irish roots will always remain and the company will stay ready to work with anyone who also places the best interests of the sport at heart.

MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan said: “Having been founded by Matthew Macklin, MTK Global’s Irish connection is known to everyone. That is why, behind the scenes, we have been doing what we can to support and rebuild boxing in the country.

“Those efforts have not borne fruit but we remain open to any proposals which would benefit the sport.

“We wish everyone involved in Irish boxing all the best going forward.”

The Irish boxing media, whom MTK Global are currently boycotting, were not one of the stakeholders contacted.

MTK Global currently have 17 fighters from the Republic of Ireland on their books along with 20 from Northern Ireland. None of these boxers are allowed speak to Republic of Ireland media in a professional capacity.

While numerous MTK fighters have broken the ban, the decree remains in place and Irish media are refused accreditation to all MTK Global shows and Queensberry cards in Belfast.

The outfit last ran a show in Dublin back in November 2015.

Two MTK bills in the capital were then cancelled in February 2016 and, ever since, no MTK-managed fighter has boxed in the Republic of Ireland.

At the start of 2018, six MTK fighters were scheduled to box on two Dublin events. Alfredo Meli was one of the original eight fighters in the middleweight Ireland’s Last Man Standing in March while Luke Keeler, Sean Creagh, Davey Oliver Joyce, Gary Cully, and Stephen Carroll [who has since left MTK] were to box on an SK Promotions bill at the Citywest Hotel in February.

This Citywest show, however, was cancelled by the venue and the following week MTK announced their exit from the Irish scene, enforcing a media ban, refusing to attempt to put their fighters on Irish shows, and pledging to sign no more Irish fighters [although they would later sign Australia-based trio Darragh Foley, Gearoid Clancy, and Danny Keating].

Unlike boxing, the exit has been partitionist in nature, and the company still has a big presence on the island of Ireland. In Belfast they have promoted four shows at The Devenish Venue as well as being closely associated to the six Queensberry cards in the city since 2016, while also signing a further three fighters from County Antrim.

Formerly based in Marbella, the outfit now operates out of Dubai.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie