By Sean Crose
Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio Jao Bento were set to fight for the WBO European Lightweight title this weekend. The fight was scratched, however after what appears to be a very public organized crime hit took place during the weigh in at Dublin’s Regency Hotel. Three people were injured and one eventually died. Video shows people running in chaotic terror due to the violence. According to the BBC, Irish law enforcement official Barry O’Brien claimed that “Gardaí (Irish police) believe that at least four people were involved in the incident.”
Kevin McAnena, of BBC Radio Foyle’s, not only witnessed the event, but quickly found that his own life might be in danger. “Two men, who I thought were officers – turns out they were just dressed up in [police] uniform – came in with guns,” he said. After seeing one man get shot “about six feet away,” McAnena claimed “that same gunman then looked over at me and pointed the gun at me.”
The Irish Mirror reports that Irish law enforcement officials feel the deadly affair was connected to last year’s murder of reputed gangster Gary Hutch, thought to be a high ranking lieutenant of a gang known as the Kinahan’s. Indeed, the Daily Mail reported later that the murder victim was one David Byrne, a cousin and close associate of Irish cocaine kingpin “Fat” Freddie Thompson. The Mail also reported that Thompson himself may have been at the weigh in during the shooting.
What Byrne’s, or the Irish mob’s connection was to Saturday’s planned card, or if there even was a connection at all, remains to be seen. It should be stated, however, that Kavanagh’s father Gerald was reportedly a Kinahan hitman. The elder Kavanagh was murdered in Spain in 2014.
What’s more, the card on Saturday was to be at least partially promoted by the son of Christy Kinahan, the senior Kavanagh’s reported superior in the crime world. Kavanagh’s uncle, one Paul Kavanagh, was also murdered in Dublin in March of last year.
One’s family, however, does not speak directly to one’s character. Kavanagh himself was a decorated amateur, who once trained at the same gym as future UFC star Conor McGregor. Upon turning pro he trained in America with none other than Freddie Roach and reputedly served as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao. His record currently stands at 20-1-1.
“Anyone asking,” he Tweeted after the incident on Friday, “I’m okay! Thanks you for asking. I was lucky today is all I can say…..”