BY MIKE LOCKLEY
Matthew Macklin smiles for camera with Daniel Kinahan, whose dad is allegedly at centre of Dublin gangland family feud
BIRMINGHAM’S top fighter Matthew Macklin smiles for the camera as he soaks up Dublin’s night scene.
But the friend holding the bottle next to him is no ordinary fight fan.
He is Daniel Kinahan, whose father, Christy, is alleged to be at the centre of a bloody gangland family feud and rash of tit-for-tat killings that has brought fear to the Irish capital.
Macklin, former British and European champ, has no criminal connection and has never knowingly rubbed shoulders with mobsters.
But he may feel nervous about his links with Daniel Kinahan following the underworld war that has left bullet-riddled bodies in Marbella and Dublin.
Christy Kinahan, dubbed the Dapper Don, is allegedly at the forefront of an international narcotics cartel worth 500 million Euros.
Now based in Southern Spain, the 59-year-old has been convicted of drug and money laundering offences in Ireland, Holland and Belgium.
Bad blood between Christy and reformed criminal Gerry “The Monk” Hutch is understood to be the catalyst for a gangland war so intense that an elite unit of armed Garda officers has been placed on Dublin’s streets.
It is rumoured that Daniel Kinahan, a man heavily involved in the fight scene, was the intended target of disguised hitmen who brought terror to a boxing weigh-in at Dublin’s Regency Hotel. Daniel is believed to have been present at the ceremony, jumping from a window to avoid the spray of bullets.
The gunmen, one of them wearing a woman’s wig, shot dead Christy Kinahan’s most trusted footsoldier, David Byrne.
The Dublin assassination of The Monk’s brother, Eddie Hutch Snr – shot nine times in the head and neck – three days later has heightened fears of an all-out turf war.
The Kinahans are regulars at Brummie boxer Macklin’s contests. Only last year, 37-year-old Daniel spoke openly of his bond with the boxer known as the Tipperary Tornado because of his roots in the Emerald Isles.
And Daniel, who lives the high life in a £1.5 million Costa del Sol villa, revealed to leading fight magazine Boxing Monthly his links with Macklin’s MGM gym in Marbella.
“I had never met Macklin, although I knew of him,” he said. “I only met him after the Jamie Moore fight in September 2006. He came over a week after the fight. I met him at the airport and from there we became friends. Matthew is probably my best friend.”
Daniel boasted of playing a key role in bringing top fighters to thriving MGM.
“We have emails and calls every day from fighters in Britain, Ireland and around Europe waiting to join us,” he told Boxing Monthly. “We just want to keep building, doing bigger fights, bigger shows for the public, and push the fighters.”
Kinahan has certainly been active in signing boxing talent, luring a string of top Irish fighters to the MGM Marbella brand.
But one former champ has already paid a heavy price for getting close to the Kinahans.
In August, 2014, Salford crowd pleaser Jamie Moore was shot in the legs after leaving a Marbella mansion owned by Daniel Kinahan, the Manchester Evening News reported.
Moore was returning from a night out when he was approached and shot by a lone gunman in what is believed to have been a case of mistaken identity.
The former European champion said: “I had got out of the taxi and was heading to the front door when a figure appeared out of the shadows.
“He was wearing a Halloween mask and carrying a gun. Me and my mate are always playing practical jokes on each other and that’s what I thought it was, a joke.
“I carried on walking and said ’You know this isn’t even funny’ and that’s when he shot me.
“The police said he shot five bullets and I just lay there and saw that I was losing a lot of blood.
“I rang the emergency services and waited, thinking ‘I am going to die’ because I had lost a lot of blood and I was going in and out of consciousness.
“Once they got me on the stretcher I passed out. All I remember was waking up in hospital and thinking ‘Thank God I’m alive’.”
Like Macklin, there is no suggestion Moore is in any way involved in criminality.
But the shooting spurred Daniel Kinahan into asking the Spanish courts to provide police protection.
His lawyer Javier Arias told The Irish Mirror: “The reason I will be asking for protection for Daniel is because of Jamie Moore’s shooting at the start of August.
“He was shot in Daniel’s garden and Daniel was at the property at the time.
“Daniel wasn’t injured but you’re obviously going to have a well-founded fear for your life if someone is shot inside your property.
“The incident shows there’s a very clear risk to Daniel’s safety.
“My application will be made in writing. I have no idea how long it will take to resolve.”
The seeds for a all-out underworld vendetta were sown in September, 2014, when Gerard “Hatchet” Kavanagh, an enforcer for Christy Kinahan, was shot dead at a Costa Irish bar.
In August last year, The Monk’s nephew, Gary Hutch – a gangster linked to organised crime in Ireland – was executed by the side of a swimming pool in Mijas. His associates vowed revenge on Christy Kinahan’s criminal empire.
The attack at The Regency Hotel, involving modified Kalishnikov rifles, saw a worrying departure in the Costa gangs modus operandi.