Backers Promise Worldwide Expansion for Bare-Knuckle Boxing

British businessmen Alfie Best and Terry Sabini have decided to go all in on a push to make bare-knuckle boxing (BKB) the next international sensation in combat sports. The plan is to work with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKF) here in the United States and then quickly expand to the United Kingdom and Russia.

Best, worth an estimated $300 million, has been nicknamed the “world’s richest Gypsy”—a reference to his Gypsy Traveller heritage. He’s been in the United States on business since July, in part to have meetings with David Feldman, the head of BKF. Following their most recent meeting, Best stated “I stand by the BKF 100% and am beyond excited to bring the only sanctioned and legit BKB to the UK and Russia. I will personally be investing $3 million to help expand the sport and reach the potential it’s capable of.”

BKF is holding an event in Miami, Florida, on August 20th at which the winner will be presented with the first Police Gazette-authorized championship BKB belt since 1889. Current world heavyweight BKB champion Bobby Gunn won his title in 2011 in a legally sanctioned match versus Richard Stewart. In 2014, Scott R. Burt of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame presented Gunn with a belt designating the world champion. And this year, Burt’s belt was formally recognized by Steven Westlake, current publisher of the National Police Gazette.

The Police Gazette was the last sanctioning organization for the sport of BKB, bestowing the last world heavyweight champion belt to John L. Sullivan in 1889. Shortly afterward, gloved boxing became the legal norm for the sport and BKB went underground for over 120 years. See our article “Closing the Squared Circle” for a fuller history.

Ticket and pay-per-view details for the August 20th event will be released later this week.

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