MTK Global to end Irish media boycott


Management outfit Mack The Knife Global have announced that they will allow their fighters to speak to Republic of Ireland media outlets from tomorrow onwards.

The Irish-founded outfit, who boast over 30 Irish fighters on their books, installed a boycott of Irish media last February along with pledging to no longer sign fighters from here or attempt to feature their boxers on shows in the South.

The move came due to a perceived Irish Media ‘witch hunt’ and, in a statement released via video and print, CEO and sole MTK Global shareholder Sandra Vaughan accused Irish media of unfairly targeting MTK-signed fighters and called for #fairnews.

Vaughan has since handed the reins to American Bob Yalen who has today confirmed that the boycott will end at midnight tonight.

It is not clear what has brought about the climb-down

‘The ban’ came in for huge criticism, with commentators noting its partitionist nature in a famously all-island sport as well as its futility in terms of preventing the so-called ‘witch hunt’ along with a long list of other issues.

Despite private grumblings of discontent from MTK fighters and figures, the ban would continue and was reaffirmed in July when, after suggestions the outfit were looking for a re-entry into the Irish market, MTK blamed a lack of desire for co-operation from ‘Irish boxing stakeholders’.

The boycott has been very loosely enforced and was broken by fighters with increasing regularity until, earlier this month, one of MTK’s leading lights, Mick Conlan appeared on Ireland’s biggest TV programme – The Late Late Show.

READ: MTK Global Irish Boycott over? Conlan Appearance Raises Questions

This appearance coincided with a raft of fighters and figures removing the ‘#fairnews’ banner from their social media profiles and it looked like the no talk policy was on its last legs, with today’s announcement proving this correct

It is unclear whether today’s news also brings an end to the other facets of MTK’s Irish withdrawal. Since the ban began, the body have signed six fighters from the Republic of Ireland – albeit all of whom are based overseas.

It does seem this way, however, with Yalen noting his desire to “operate” in the Republic of Ireland.

Irish-Boxing.com, as stated previously, will now look to interview any and all Irish fighters signed to MTK but the damage caused by the ban is irreparable for some Irish media members.

It is assumed that Irish media will also be accredited for MTK shows having missed out on all three such cards in Belfast last year as well as the three big Queensberry bills in the city, with Frank Warren’s outfit also enforcing the boycott.

Bob Yalen said that “we are a truly global company but Irish boxing will always remain close to the heart of MTK. It would be nice to be free to operate there as we do in every other country in the world and my hope is that the Irish press will support our efforts to do so.”

“We look forward to working with all sections of the Irish press who share our goal of building professional boxing in the south of Ireland.”

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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