T Nation

Bare-Knuckle Boxing Returns?


#1

If this shit comes back, it would be awesome.

http://www.northjersey.com/sports/126745918_Gearing_up_for_bare-knuckle_brawl___reviving_a_long-forgotten_art.html?c=y&page=1

Gunn gears up for bare-knuckle brawl

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2011

BY STEVE JANOSKI

When one hears the phrase "bare-knuckle boxing," it might bring to mind the antique photos of the legendary John L. Sullivan, standing bare-chested with his fists held high in front of his enormous handlebar mustache.

Rightly so, of course; Sullivan was the last of the bare-knuckle champions, and there has not been a sanctioned bare-knuckle bout since the "Boston Strong Boy" defeated Jake Kilrain in a 75-round marathon in 1889. While there have been plenty of other bare-knuckle matches, they've all occurred in a shady underworld that's far removed from professional boxing's flashing lights.

One man, however, is trying to bring this manly art back above ground after a century-long decline, and on Friday, Aug. 5, he'll be stepping through the ropes in Scottsdale, Ariz., to fight under the old London Prize Ring Rules in the first public bare-knuckle bout in 122 years.

Bobby "The Celtic Warrior" Gunn, 37, has been fighting since the age of 6, and as a seven-time cruiserweight champion with a pro record of 21-4-1, he's already proven himself time and again in the squared circle.

Although originally from Canada, he now lives in Rochelle Park, and shoots back and forth between the Ringside Gym and the Rocky Marciano Gym, both in Jersey City, to work with his trainer, Dominick Scibetta in preparation for the 10 round bout.

In order to keep his hands from breaking during the 90-second rounds, Gunn has been using old-school fist-hardening methods such as punching the heavy bag without wraps and plunging his hands into a bucket of rice and grasping the kernels to strengthen his grip.

He works with 30 pound medicine balls, throwing them as far as he can to develop explosiveness, and takes a sledgehammer to a tire to increase his endurance; he will not, unfortunately, be growing out the handlebar mustache.

In a way, he said, fighting without gloves makes the sport more safe â?? less head shots, less overall punishment, and (in his experience) less critical injuries.

"Guys get bloody lips, bloody noses, but I've never seen a fighter collapse and never be the same again on the bare-knuckle circuit," he said. "Everybody I've seen has walked away."

"Bare-knuckle boxing is more of an art; you don't want to get hit, believe me," he said. "You wrap my hands and put that 10-ounce glove on me, I feel like I can punch a door off the hinges, but barehanded, I've got to pick my shots."

His motivation to bring back bare-knuckle boxing stems from his harsh experiences with pro boxing's business end, which has left him jaded after a long career.

"There's so much garbage in boxingâ?¦I've been involved in fights that put a bad taste in my mouth," he said.

Some ask why he wouldn't just go to Mixed Martial Arts, which uses both smaller gloves and a smaller rulebook.

"I think it's a great sportâ?¦but I believe that the fans are more excited when fighters are standing and trading (rather than grappling)," he said.

Although he was understandably reserved about stating when and where the matches took place, Gunn said that he has already participated in over 60 bare-knuckle fights in the underground circuit, and made a point to say that the events were well organized and used referees.

"These are no barroom brawls," he said.

His opponent on Friday will be Chris "The Butcher" Thompson, who Gunn said is a sort of folk hero in the South African bare-knuckle circuit.

If all goes well, he believes that bare-knuckle boxing could turn into a "sport to be reckoned with," and maybe even draw some fighters from the MMA world in.

"They'll want to test themselves; this is a real manly sport right here," he said. "(MMA fighter) Chuck Liddell said he could fight any striker in the world, well by golly my pal, you want to do it the door's open."

"Even the guys that tell you they wouldn't watch it because it's barbaric, well, when their doors are closed, you can bet they're putting on the Pay Per View," said Gunn. "This is going to attract the world."

He profusely thanked his team, made up of Dave Feldman, George Kokkalenios, Alvin Roth, and Kyle White, and said that the fight will be available through the website UStream.tv.

Those who tune in will be watching a piece of history.


#2

sounds awesome. Whens the fight?


#3

This Friday night evidently.


#4

I can definitely dig it.


#5

I really want to see it. Shit's gotta be painful.


#6

It is still big in the gypsy community as a means of solving disputes. There's a lot of family pride involved and a lot of their kids learn from a young age.

I had a bare-knuckle bout with a gypsy lad who lived round me and who was quite handy. It is a great sport and it may even be more of a thinking man's sport than real boxing, since setting up your shots requires a lot more work. Getting caught clean hurts, but I found the most painful thing was landing on the other lad's elbows when he blocked. It was actually pretty fun in general. Like body sparring but painful.


#7

Hey man, can you elaborate on any of this? It sounds really interesting and I'm picturing the fight scene in "Snatch" right now.

How do you set your shots up differently? Do you wear a mouthpiece? Wrap your hands at all? Do you aim more for the body than the head?

And I'm assuming you mean as a sport amongst the tinkers over there?

I could see hitting a guy's elbows hurting like a motherfucker. It hurts sometimes when you're wearing gloves.


#8

Also, do you punch any differently? Less force, maybe?


#9

sounds good, i'll be tuning in


#10

This is going to be the next big fight sport. This is what fans wanna see; two pro's going toe-to-toe...not some sloppy street fight.

Its gonna be shown live on ustream.tv Friday night


#11

Sadly I'm not as pretty as Brad Pitt. There was no ring or anything. It was in a pub carpark, in front of a few of our mates.

He didnt wear a mouth piece, but he is an ugly fucker at the best of times. I'm vain, and had met him there after boxing training, so i definitely did. No wrapping hands.

It is sort of a sport, but from what I could gather, it is used more to settle disputes/family feuds etc. It all sounds quite good to be honest. They have a bit of a scrap, and leave the dispute behind at the end. They fight til one quits or can't go on generally. I agreed to fight for 10 mins, rather than til someone gave up. I was still competing at that point and didnt plan on getting cut up or busted hands that would interfere with my proper boxing.

As far as the actual fighting went it isnt much like snatch, since it is pretty hard to put your combinations together, as you are conscious of not landing on the forehead or elbow. Although I should say that my gypsy mate seemed to have harder hands and was more willing to let them go. That said, we both definitely pulled a lot of our punches.

Shot set up is different in a number of ways. Firstly, your defense has to change to varying degrees, depending on how you usually fight. I hold my hands quite low and like to slip and move my feet to avoid punches. I dont use my gloves much for defense. I would say that it is an effective style for bareknuckle stuff, since it tends to get your opponent off balance, which is crucial in being able to land and work angles. Angles are crucial. Coming straight forward in the ammy way is quite ineffectual. As head shots are difficult, due to the risk of busting your hands on a hard bit, it is important to be able to set up your body punches by committing your opponent to throwing, then stepping off. Combinations are particularly effective once you land to the body, since it hurts pretty badly when you do get clocked and much harder to protect your head, since keeping your hands up isn't much use, and it is hard to slip when you feel like you've been hit by a sledgehammer. You do definitely get hurt more from single shots. You don't do a lot of standing still and trading. One thing that is effective and painful with this style of fighting is to hit the back of your opponent's hands. The last thing that springs to mind for shot selection is that feints, and forcing your opponent's to throw the shots you want him to throw is a lot more important. Dropping the lead hand to invite the straight right etc. It is important to control the fight by controlling the shots you opponent is able to throw and land. This seems obvious, but you can afford to take a lot more chances when you are in the ring with 10oz gloves on, since you are much less likely to get your clock cleaned by a shot that gets through.

That is the other thing I would say about this style of fighting: it is a lot easier to find yourself on the floor. I've had a decent amount of amateur fights, and never been down in my life, but this kid put me down a couple of times with body shots, and he wasnt even that bigger hitter, or the best boxer i've faced. I put him down twice, and marked him up pretty badly. I put him down with a shot on the jaw, that wasn't that clean, and was pulled slightly at the last minute, but never the less, the lack of gloves makes a massive difference to your ability to do real damage.

The only other thing I can think of is that you mark up horrendously. I was pretty embarrassed for a week or so afterwards. I barely got hit at all in the face, none of them cleanly, but I looked like I'd been in an accident, and my body and more particularly my arms, knuckles and hands were black with bruises.


#12

Seventy. Five. Rounds. Wow.


#13

Bareknuckle boxing live tonight on ustream.tv at 7 p.m. Eastern

The highly anticipated bareknuckle boxing match between seven time cruiserweight champion Bobby Gunn and MMA fighter Chris Thompson will be aired live tonight on www.ustream.tv at 7 p.m. Eastern for the low cost of $10.


#14

definitely gonna follow, this is going to be brutal.


#15

Thanks for posting this Irish. I am not sure if I will catch the fight but this is relavent to my interests to say the least.

LondonBoxer,

Great posts. Please post more. We are a friendly bunch until the subject turns to Kahn or David Haye, then it's The Night of the Long Knives in here.

You mean Irish Traveler not Romani correct?

When I first read the title I thought, then a bunch of people are going to learn to be careful not to land a punch on an elbow, and that covering up and taking punches with the back of the hands isn't all blondes and blowjobs without big gloves.

Have you ever tried MMA gloves. When they first came out, yes that long ago, I tried on a pair and thought "No fucking way. These just support the wrist, give your hand a little extra weight, and give just enough protection so you can throw to the head with impunity." Your line about feeling like you can punch a door of its hinges with gloves rings true.

To all:

I don't know if these are representative but here is some youtube footage:

Regards,

Robert A


#16

So how did it go?

Damn, can't believe I've missed the entertainment of this thread.


#17

Gunn won I heard, 3rd round KO. I gotta find a clip, I want to see how it happened


#18

Interesting videos Robert A. This is the kind of thing I was talking about, although these guys seem a lot less skilled than the boy I fought, even though he hadn't trained in boxing as far as I'm aware. These seem more like regulated punch ups between guys who fancy a bit of a scrap. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but my extremely limited exposure was to someone who was a lot more calculating and composed than these boys. That may just be because we fought like boers without gloves, I couldn't really say. My impression though was that there is a culture of bareknuckle fighting, as semi-sport/semi dispute settling, where the participants, through practise, have developed a better thought out, and more ruthless bareknuckle approach than the videos would suggest. However, since this is the kind of community this lad came from, it is quite possible that this is the norm, and he just happened to have developed a bit of a system for himself.


#19

I am assuming this is a typo and you meant boxers. However I am going to run with it and post this vid from Breaker Morant simply because I am in a bit of a mood.

"Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you're sure to be right."
-Harry Morant

Harry Morant: As a matter of interest, how many courts-martial have you done?
Major Thomas: None.
George Wittow: None?
Peter Handcock: Jesus, they're playing with a double-headed penny, aren't they?
Major Thomas: Would you rather conduct your own defence?
George Wittow: But you have handled a lot of court cases back home, sir?
Major Thomas: No. I was a country-town solicitor. I handled land conveyancing and wills.
Peter Handcock: Wills. Might come in handy.

Peter Handcock: [Drummond has just left the witness stand] You couldn't lie straight in bed, Drummond.
Sgt. Maj. Drummond: I don't have to take that from you.
Peter Handcock: You wanna do something about it? Come outside, I'll knock your bloody head off!
Lt. Col. Denny: Control yourself, Mr. Handcock, or you will find yourself in serious trouble.
[Handcock scoffs at this]
Lt. Col. Denny: You find that amusing?
Peter Handcock: Well, I was just wondering how much more serious things could be.

Regards,

Robert A


#20

That's already more info than I could pull from Google.