Another Event Already Planned for January.
In an interview on former UFC champion BJ Penn’s popular podcast, bare-knuckle boxing world champion Bobby Gunn confirmed he will fight his first official title defense on November 26th. The location will be announced within two weeks by the venue—a major casino—but it is signed, sealed, and delivered. Gunn said British multi-millionaire Alfie Best has even secured a $10,000,000 insurance policy to cover the event.
Gunn also confirmed to Penn that the professional bare-knuckle boxing (BKB) movement is gathering steam and another event is already planned for January. Gunn said it took so long to get to this point because the organizers, including David Feldman of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships and Scott Burt of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame, are so serious about making the sport clean, legitimate, legal, and above board in every respect. They wanted to “dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’.” Now that that work has been accomplished, Gunn sees nothing but great success for the sport’s future.
Gunn said the reason they’ve been so adamant about making the sport legitimate is that, in the end, it’s about the fighters. It’s about BKB fighters having a place where they are respected, get paid well and on time, and don’t have to deal with corruption. “This is not a circus,” Gunn said. “It’s a gentleman’s sport. No one’s an enemy.” The fighters are serious, trained athletes respectfully going about their profession. Gunn said the drug testing and medical exams will be even more rigorous than the norm in professional boxing and MMA today.
Gunn mentioned one of the factors pushing BKB forward is recent evidence showing that it is actually safer and causes less brain trauma than gloved boxing. He said there has never been a recorded death in BKB, while deaths have always plagued gloved boxing right up to the present day. Because we discussed a death that occurred during an 1842 match in our article “Closing the Squared Circle” we should clarify that it happened under a completely different set of rules. Bobby Gunn is correct that no reported death has occurred in BKB matches conducted under modern boxing rules. Gunn calls it “The old ways, but with the advanced rules.”
Gunn made sure to tie the current state of pro BKB back to where it left off. He gave a shout out to the National Police Gazette magazine as the last organization that formally sanctioned matches and bestowed BKB championships. He mentioned a conversation he had with Bert Randolph Sugar before the legendary boxing historian died, in which Sugar told him after Gunn won his fight versus Richard Stewart in 2011 that he was the first person to claim a BKB championship in a sanctioned match since 1889. And he praised Scott Burt of the Hall of Fame, who owns the barns where John L. Sullivan trained for that historic match. In fact, Gunn said he will be visiting those barns next month to do some training in the same place where Sullivan got ready to win the last Police Gazette championship belt, before today. Now, the Police Gazette authorizes and approves of the championship belts issued by the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame. It’s been 127 years since a Police Gazette-authorized belt has been presented to the winner after a match. November 26th will be the date.