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World champion boxer Billy Joe Saunders posts angry Tweets following Daniel Kinahan Panorama programme

A world champion boxer, Billy Joe Saunders has taken to social media to express his anger following the broadcast of a Panorama programme which claimed a suspected crime boss is still working at the top of world boxing. Picture by Scott Heavey/PA Wire

A world champion boxer has taken to social media to express his anger following the broadcast of a Panorama programme which claimed a suspected crime boss is still working at the highest level of boxing.

Billy Joe Saunders, an English professional boxer who has held world championships in two weight classes, posted a number of angry tweets on Twitter following the airing of the programme on Monday night.

Panorama carried out an investigation in relation to Daniel Kinahan, who has no criminal convictions but has been named in the Irish courts as the head of one of Europe’s most prominent drug cartels.

The suspected gangster helped set up boxing management business MTK Global – but it was announced last year he was stepping away from the sport.

But the company has now confirmed he still advises some of its boxers.

Lawyers for MTK Global told the programme: "It is true that Mr Kinahan provides some personal advice to a number of boxers managed by MTK Global and we are instructed that Mr Kinahan also provides such advisory services to boxers who are managed by other worldwide boxing management companies too."

Panorama spoke to several boxing insiders who have expressed concerns about Mr Kinahan’s power and influence in the sport.

Among those who appeared on the programme was former world champion and boxing manager Barry McGuigan, who said it is a "bloody dangerous" situation.

"There is no doubt that there is an intimidation effect, there is no question about that," he said.

Following the show being broadcast, Billy Joe Saunders posted a number of derogatory tweets on Twitter regarding both the programme and Mr McGuigan, who lost Belfast boxer, Carl Frampton to MTK Global in 2017.

Among the comments written by Mr Saunders was: "What a lode of rubbish Irish Government corruption . If a man has done all this with no criminal record and helps out the homeless and sending cancer patients to get cured. Why hasn’t he been put in prison Rubbish".

In other comments, the boxer said Mr McGuigan should give himself "a good look in the mirror".

A spokesman for Panorama said: "We stand by our journalism".

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