Legendary promoter Bob Arum says he now regrets working with Daniel Kinahan

Irishman Kinahan remains wanted by the Irish and American authorities for his links to criminality after being named the head of the Kinahan Organized Crime Gang alongside his father, Christy, and brother, Christopher, in 2022 in a joint announcement by Irish and American authorities. 

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Arum concedes he fell for Kinahan’s charm and said Kinahan told him he wanted to clean up his act, become involved in the boxing business, and be a role model for his children. 

“He told me that he was getting into boxing because he’d done bad things in the past and wanted to reform himself,” Arum told the newspaper. “He told me that he wanted to clean up his name because he wanted to be a role model for his kids and I believed him.”

Arum and Kinahan had worked closely together in previous years, which saw the likes of Tyson Fury, Carl Frampton and Josh Taylor all ink promotional contracts with Arum’s Top Rank promotional entity. 

The promoter denied that Kinahan discussed and explored the possibility of buying Arum’s Top Rank promotional company and Arum insisted that he had no intention of selling the promotional firm he built to Kinahan. 

“That never, ever happened,” said Arum.

“Maybe he was thinking about it in his head, but he never approached us – and that’s the last thing we would have done.”

Despite Kinahan’s previous successful charm offensive on Arum, the 92-year-old concedes he was aware of Kinahan’s reputation but could not find any proof regarding his involvement in criminality before the U.S. imposed sanctions upon the alleged cartel leader almost two years ago, in 2022. 

“We knew the history because, obviously, it was there if you Google it, but we didn’t see anything that he was doing wrong. We saw no evidence that he was a drug dealer,” protested Arum.

When U.S. authorities sanctioned Kinahan, Arum admitted he was shocked by the revelations, but felt the U.S. government would not have taken such measures without evidence.

“Now, apparently, that wasn’t the case. If that wasn’t the case, then [U.S. President Joe] Biden wouldn’t have brought in the sanctions on Kinahan. I’m not a naive guy, I have a law background and was in the Justice Department. I bought into what Kinahan told me because I didn’t see anything to the contrary.

“Once Biden brought in the sanctions, I said, ‘Whoa, I missed what was going on.’ So, sure, in that respect, I have regrets.” 

The Irish government continues to discuss, with its counterparts in the U.A.E., the extradition of Kinahan and his associates to face justice in Ireland.