Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Announced

Mike Conley; Bare Knuckle Boxer, 1860-1920. Known as The Ithaca Giant. 1888 Northwest American Heavyweight Champion. Career spanned 1886-1894; record was 26-4-2. Fought the likes of Jack Ashton, Joe McAuliffe, Patsy Cardiff, Billy Woods, Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons. His image is used today many times over to represent the “Manly Man”. From Ithaca, New York.

Tom Johnson; Bare Knuckle Boxer, 1750-1797. Restored honor to the sport after decades of corruption. Champion of England from 1784 to 1791. Demonstrated early mental tactical awareness in the ring that others previously lacked.

Nat Langham; Bare Knuckle Boxer, 1820-1871. An influential English pugilist who became the English Middleweight Champion. He was the only conqueror of Tom Sayers. After defeating Sayers in 1857 he retired to manage the first-ever professional champion of the boxing world, Jem Mace.

Joe Lannon; Bare Knuckle Boxer. The Hammerer, whose career spanned 1883-93. Fought the likes of Jack Aston, George Godfrey, Jake Kilrain, and Jim Corbett. Although known as one of the top heavyweights of his time, is best known for being John L. Sullivan’s exhibition and sparring partner; no one was in the ring with Sullivan more.

Rick Jeanneret; Announcer. The longest reigning announcer in the NHL and member of the NHL Hall of Fame. He is “The Voice of the Buffalo Sabres”. No man in history has called more ‘bare knuckle’ fights.

Tony Gee; World-Renowned Author and Historian. Resides in England. Widely viewed as one of the top bare knuckle authorities in the world. His writings are regarded as the most accurate recordings written. Future generations will look upon his works when studying the past.

Dick Topinko; Local Gloved Boxer. Retired Buffalo, New York, boxer who brought a positive spotlight to upstate New York during his career which started in 1964. He was trained by Tony Pinto and Johnny Sudac; his manager was Sam Cardinale. Won Golden Gloves in 1965. Drafted for Vietnam War; turned pro once back home in 1968. Went 14-0 as professional; picked by The Ring in 1970 as one of the Top 5 Prospects in the World. A shoulder injury later that year forced retirement.

TEAM USA JUJITSU who trained in the Sullivan barns this past summer before travelling to and participating in the 2017 World Championships in Australia last fall.
Bryana Baer; Team Member.
Mike Hanchett; Team Member.
Charlie Love; Team Member.
Desmond White; Team Member.
Barry Broughton; Coach

Bill Clancy; Boxing Official. Regarded by many as the top active boxing referee in the world today. Known for his honesty, integrity, personality, but most importantly for putting the safety of boxers first above all. Has officiated in 15 states and 11 countries. Has refereed 17 world titles, 47 international fights, and 35 different world champions including main events on HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC, ESPN, USA, and par-per-view. Over 900 fights in over 33 years.

The BKBHOF induction date this year is Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Scott R. Burt, President
Belfast, New York

No Dance Tonight: The Bizarre Cancellation of the BKB Championship Fight

Last year there were numerous false starts getting a bare knuckle boxing championship event off the ground. But none of them failed in as spectacular a fashion as the one that was supposed to have taken place today.

Champion Bobby Gunn and challenger Shannon Ritch have been set to square off in a BKB championship for over a year and a half. But one disappointment after another kept them from meeting. Finally, it seemed frustration had set in to such an extent they decided to just go ahead and do an event on their own. Nobody’s getting any younger and it seemed like it was now or never.

On October 20th, Shannon reported he’d formally challenged Bobby and that Bobby had accepted. On the 23rd, Shannon posted a video in which he stated “I want to test myself against the best. I know you’re the best. I will come to anyplace you say. You name the time and place. I will be there.” Bobby replied the same day, telling Shannon “You’ve already acknowledged when you challenge a man you have to go over to where that man is. Very soon you’ll be getting a time and location.”

The next day Bobby named the date as November 17th. He also referred to Canada as being the general location, though later it became clear an exact location remained very much up in the air. Still, on October 30th, Bobby announced the fight would be available by pay-per-view through, a do-it-yourself service. This was to be a no-frills match, the meeting of two battlers who were done with waiting for complexities to be worked out and just wanted to settle who was the best.

So far, so good. But then, in one big hurry, the whole thing went so far south it’s probably at the tomb of Captain Robert Scott by now. In the late night of November 7th, Shannon’s camp suddenly announced Bobby had backed out. Shannon explained that on November 6th they’d presented Bobby with a contract involving a pay-per-view company that Shannon’s camp had come up with. Bobby would later say he did not expect a move like this and that he had serious reservations with the details of the contract anyway. For example, one provision states “ST7, LLC [the pay-per-view company] will have an exclusive two-year rights, with an option for additional years (1-1-1-), for any worldwide Bare Knuckle Boxing live streaming event opportunities….” Bobby hesitated at being tied to anything for at least two years when they’d originally discussed just getting together as men to settle who was champion and leaving it at that. He also was concerned the contract did not name a venue, city or country where the event was to take place.

Then, less than 48 hours after Bobby saw the contract and refused to sign it as written, Shannon’s camp said they were done negotiating and the fight was off. We asked Shannon about postponing the date and getting everyone back to the table in a relaxed manner. After all, it takes more than two days to hammer out the details of a contract involving so many parties (four altogether, two companies and two individuals), exclusive rights, and potentially large amounts of money. But Shannon replied by saying “Nope done with this guy.” So a grand total of 18 days elapsed between the announcement & acceptance of the challenge and when efforts to make the fight happen were called off.

Something seemed a little funny with the way everything had played out. Bobby’s head liaison with the Shannon Ritch camp was long-time associate Joe McEwen, more commonly known as Joe Mack. Joe had carried out the bulk of the negotiations on behalf of Bobby. But strangely, the moment negotiations broke down Joe went publicly on Twitter complaining that Bobby had backed out of the fight, adding the hashtag #EXPOSED. In the same post was a screen shot of a communication from Shannon to British boxing promotion UBBAD apologizing to them for trusting Bobby. Later, Bobby posted information that suggested Joe had thrown his allegiance over to UBBAD this past summer, and the November 17th event had actually been an effort by Joe to financially entangle Bobby with UBBAD, discredit him, or both.

As the two camps continue to threaten each other and accuse the other of backing out, one thing is for sure. As of now, there is no fight between Bobby Gunn and Shannon Ritch, and it doesn’t look like there ever will be.

Update: Joe Mack responded to our story by saying there’s no truth to the accusation of collusion with UBBAD, calling Bobby’s information a “conspiracy theory.” He also assured us the contract they offered Bobby was for a legitimate, legal event and he saw no good reason for Bobby to reject it.

The Police Gazette as Premier BKB Sanctioning Body: How It Began

In June 1880, Paddy Ryan defeated Joe Goss in West Virginia in a bare-knuckle fight and claimed the championship of America. But, prize fighting being illegal, there was no respected organization that could officially sanction this claim. So uncertainty about who was the American champion remained. John L. Sullivan then challenged Ryan, but Ryan did not immediately accept. He said West Virginia authorities were hunting him for participating in a prize fight and, besides, Sullivan had yet to post a forfeit. Enter Richard K. Fox and the National Police Gazette.

Fox offered to sanction and facilitate a match between Ryan and Sullivan. The April 16, 1881, issue of the Police Gazette explains: “To settle this matter, Richard K. Fox, proprietor of the POLICE GAZETTE, offers to match Sullivan, the Boston giant, to fight Paddy Ryan at catchweight, according to the new rules of the London prize ring, for $1,000 a side and the heavy-weight championship of America. He will also offer a champion belt—fac simile of the belt Heenan and Sayers fought for—to the winner. The trophy is to represent the championship of America, and the winner of the belt will have to defend the trophy, according to the rules that governed the champion belt of England. All matches for the belt to be made at the POLICE GAZETTE office, and Richard K. Fox is to be final stakeholder in all matches and to select a referee…. Richard K. Fox means business, and is eager and anxious to find out who is the champion pugilist of America.”

The same article also suggested the fight—and Ryan’s training camp—could be in Canada, so Ryan could avoid his legal problems. But when the fight did take place in February 1882, it was in rural Mississippi, though still illegal. John L. Sullivan won and the Police Gazette declared him American champion of all boxing. And thus began the Gazette‘s position as not just a sports magazine, but the premier boxing—as well as bare-knuckle boxing—sanctioning organization in America, later the world. The belt Fox had produced was made from 12.5 pounds of solid silver and gold with eight diamonds, including two in the eyes of a fox head. It remained the emblem of world boxing champions, both bare knuckle and gloved, until after the turn of the 20th century.

When gloved boxing became legal in 1892, the Police Gazette suspended the use of its championship belts as representing bare-knuckle (BKB) champions. Now, with BKB making a comeback, it was natural for us to reinstate the Police Gazette belt as the signifier of world BKB champions since the last time there was an official BKB world champion it was the Police Gazette that bestowed the title. In February 2016, we passed the management of this title to Scott Burt of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in recognition of his immersion in the subject and the singular work he’s done in the field.

The new Police Gazette bare-knuckle champion belt, produced by the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame, will be fought for November 17th between champion Bobby Gunn and challenger Shannon Ritch—the first time since July 1889 the Police Gazette heavyweight belt will be bestowed following a BKB match. Welcome back!

The Police Gazette world-champion belt makes an appearance in the November 1, 1884, issue.

Police Gazette Bare-Knuckle Champion Belt To Be Defended November 17th!

(See updates below the main article.)

Did a Simple Police Gazette Tweet Trigger the First BKB Title Defense in 128 Years?

World bare knuckle boxing champion Bobby Gunn will defend his title against challenger Shannon Ritch on November 17th in Canada. Access through Pay-per-view is planned.

After a series of disappointments over the past two years, it appears a match has finally been set and the Police Gazette championship belt for bare-knuckle boxing will be contested for the first time since 1889. The Police Gazette has authorized the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame to administer the belt, and BKBHOF president Scott Burt said Monday in a video statement, “It can’t be a world-title fight unless the Holy Grail of all belts is on the line. We are going to put a big emphasis, a great big mark on this fight between Shannon Ritch and Bobby Gunn.”

So how did things come together so quickly after so much frustration in recent years? Chalk it up to two fighters who are just sick of waiting. But the spark seems to have been a routine tweet by the Police Gazette on October 20th. In it we posted a picture of the “Police Gazette Heavy-Weight Champion Prize Ring Belt of the World” as it appeared in 1894. Shannon Ritch, inspired to action by the image, later replied to our tweet and reported, “I have challenged Bobby Gunn to defend his bare knuckle title / he has accepted!! Waiting on venue and date! But it’s going to happen.” We quickly replied to Shannon, saying “We fully approve this match-up. The sooner the better!”

Three days later, activity heated up. On Monday morning Shannon issued a video challenge to Bobby Gunn in which he said “I want to test myself against the best. I know you’re the best. I will come to any place you say. You name the time and place. I will be there. Let’s get on this. Let’s toe the line.” That afternoon Bobby replied with a video of his own. He said “Fair play to you. You’ve already acknowledged when you challenge a man you have to go over to where that man is. Very soon you’ll be getting a time and location. I welcome your challenge with arms wide open, pal. You’re gonna get it, Shannon Ritch. You got the fight, pal. Let’s get it on now.” Later that day Bobby revealed a bit more regarding the date. “In about 1 month we will rock and roll.”

The exact rules will still need to be agreed upon. London Prize Ring rules, under which John L. Sullivan fought, allow stand-up grappling and throwing, though no attacking when a man is down and no striking with anything other than bare fists. But bare knuckle fighting in recent years has generally been closer to standard modern boxing, just without any hand coverings. The hands have to be completely bare.

On Tuesday evening, Bobby announced the fight will take place “in Canada on native land November 17th private invite-only non-disclosure event that will be streamed on Pay-per-view.” He added it would be “real BKB no hand wraps.” On Wednesday morning Shannon asked the Police Gazette “Are you on board with the fight between Gunn and myself? Will the Police Gazette sanction the title?” To which we replied “We’d approve this match if you fought underwater, as long as NO HAND COVERINGS. The rest is up to Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame.”

For his part, Scott Burt of the BKBHOF stated on Tuesday, “belt only on line if legal.” Last night Scott confirmed his position, saying he’s “just waiting to hear exact location so as to confirm it’s legality as it was when passed it to Gunn as a result of his 2011 fight.” On August 5, 2011, the Yavapai Nation just outside Scottsdale, Arizona, sanctioned a bare-knuckle bout between Bobby Gunn and Richard Stewart under the laws of the Nation. Bobby emerged the victor and claimed the bare-knuckle world championship. In 2014, the BKBHOF under Scott Burt sanctioned this claim by presenting Bobby with their championship belt. In February 2016, the Police Gazette under current publisher Steven Westlake authorized the BKBHOF belt as representing the Police Gazette championship, thus ending a nearly 124-year suspension of the Police Gazette belt signifying world bare knuckle champions. As the Police Gazette was the last organization to officially sanction world bare knuckle championships, this made Bobby Gunn the lineal BKB champion after John L. Sullivan. And now Shannon Ritch wants that title.

Shannon is confident everything is in order. Yesterday afternoon he reported “Big things cooking / just finished interview with Stayton Bonner with Rolling Stone Magazine! The super Fight is on!!” Watch for updates here as they develop.

Today’s Police Gazette and BKBHOF world-championship belt in bare knuckle boxing.

UPDATE 10/31: Bobby Gunn has announced Pay-per-view arrangements for the BKB world championship event on November 17th. The price is $9.99 before the date of the event. Those wishing to reserve theirs can go here.

UPDATE 10/29: Tempers are already flaring in the run-up to the November 17th super fight for the bare knuckle boxing world championship. On Friday challenger Shannon Ritch taunted champion Bobby Gunn, saying “enough talk – bobby just show up !man to man! You better not duck me!” To which Bobby replied “My pal, you can say all the insults you want I promise you as sure as the sun rises tomorrow morning you’re going to get what you ask for.” Shannon retorted “You better show up! No excuses! 100% healthy or injured you better show up.” But Shannon wasn’t done. He next turned his ire to Scott Burt and the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame, which controls the issuance of the Police Gazette championship belt, the belt that signifies the lineal BKB champion after John L. Sullivan. Scott has said the fight needs to be considered legal in the jurisdiction in which it occurs. Shannon reacted to this uncertainty by first stating “I want the Victory! The win means more than a cheap belt!” But then got more personal, saying “So funny when someone thinks they are bigger than they are (Scott Burt) make me laugh! I’ve fought all over the world. Your organization (BKBHOF) is made up.” Scott replied with “No matter BKBHOF or Police Gazette agrees or disagrees w/folks opinions, we ALWAYS show respect. #Class.” Shannon then proceeded to argue his case over legality and the rules. “Guess if it’s on Indian reservation that will make it legal. Although John L Sullivan’s fights were illegal – hmmm.” And “Yes all john l Sullivan fights were illegal.. lol at BKBHOF.” Regarding the rules, Shannon pointed out that Sullivan’s BKB fights included stand-up grappling. “BKBHOF, your all about Sullivan! All his fights were grappling and boxing – R we going to have same rules? That’s right up my alley!” Scott has already announced the fight will be regular stand-up boxing with no wraps or coverings of any kind on the hands or arms. And there will be no rounds. But grappling is not included.

From our perspective, Shannon is correct that all of John L. Sullivan’s BKB fights were illegal at the time they took place and that they included stand-up grappling and throwing. As for the legality, when gloved boxing became legal in 1892, the Police Gazette suspended the use of its championship belt as representing BKB champions, and continued it as the emblem of gloved champions. Now, with BKB making a comeback, it was natural for us to reinstate the Police Gazette belt as the signifier of world BKB champions since the last time there was an official BKB world champion it was the Police Gazette that bestowed the title. Last year, we passed the management of this title to Scott Burt of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in recognition of his immersion in the subject and the singular work he’s done in the field. The Police Gazette is many things, boxing being one of them. Outsourcing the boxing aspect to someone who is focused on that one thing will end up being better for everyone in the long run. We want to see action. And as we’ve already said to Shannon, the Police Gazette doesn’t care if you guys want to fight under water. But it would be better for the sport in the long run to have things be reasonably legal. As of today, Scott has received assurances and has no knowledge that the fight will NOT be legal. So as of now, all systems are go for the belt to be bestowed. As for the rules, our position is that the rules are whatever the two camps agree on as long as the fighting is stand up and there are no hand coverings of any kind.

UPDATE 10/27: Scott Burt announced the ground rules for the bout. It will be “A stand-up, toe-to-toe fight. Bare knuckle; not a speck of tape from your shoulder to the tip of your fingers. No rounds, unless there is TV viewing involved. Then we will alter the rules.” See his full video statement here.

$1 Million BKB Training Facility Planned for Belfast, New York

-BKB Champ Bobby Gunn Will Run Facility.
-BKBHOF President Scott Burt Donates the Land.
-Fund-raising Campaign to be Launched.

Brand new, state-of-the-art as well as old-school training facilities for boxers will be built in Belfast, New York, according to a joint statement issued yesterday by bare-knuckle boxing world champion Bobby Gunn, Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame president Scott Burt, and Hall of Fame vice president in charge of training facility Joe Curcio. John L. Sullivan trained in Belfast for the last bare-knuckle championship fight before the modern era. Scott Burt converted the barns where he trained into the Hall of Fame, and Burt, Gunn, and Curcio decided the same benefits Belfast had as a training site then still hold true today.

Bobby Gunn had a dream for a training facility for bare-knuckle boxers and fell in love with Belfast while he trained there for his gloved bout versus Roy Jones Jr on February 17th. Scott Burt said yesterday he decided to help make that dream come true and is donating two pieces of land, one next to the two existing Hall of Fame barns and a larger tract just outside town. Joe Curcio will be in charge of supervising the development and construction. “I can’t thank Joe Curcio and Scott Burt enough,” Gunn said. “Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility, not just for bare-knuckle boxing but for boxing and mixed martial arts fighters all over the world. There’s no better place for a proper training camp.”

Privacy was a big selling point in Sullivan’s time and still is today. Belfast is a tiny village; the closest large city is Buffalo, which is 66 miles away. Gunn said fighters need a place where they can get away from it all and not be disturbed. Plus, Burt added, “The people of Belfast respect privacy.” In addition, fighters who come to the area will have the opportunity to use either current, modern training methods or the same methods that got Sullivan in shape to win his epic battle against Jake Kilrain in 1889. Old-school training will include swinging indian clubs, blacksmithing, beating tires, chopping wood, and running the trails that Sullivan ran. But a large, brand new building will also house everything a fighter would want in a 21st-century gym.

There were originally three barns in Sullivan’s training compound. So the third will be rebuilt on the plot of land next to the others and blend in with their styles. It will, however, have modern amenities. “What Scott is proposing is really in keeping with the spirit of the existing barns,” said Curcio. This is where the “old-school, harsh and rigorous training” will take place. “But we also want to offer fighters everything you would want in a modern up-to-date facility.” This would be the new building at the larger site. “The absolute best of both worlds,” added Burt.

As if all this weren’t enough, also housed in the rebuilt barn will be the boxing ring that was used by the Apollo Creed character in the film Rocky II. This item is already owned by the Hall of Fame. For the rest, including the new construction, Curcio announced a fund-raising effort will be launched that they hope will raise $1 million.

From left, Scott Burt, Bobby Gunn, and Joe Curcio.

Bobby Gunn and Roy Jones Jr Top Great Night of Boxing and More

Police Gazette and BKBHOF bare-knuckle world champion Bobby Gunn faced the great Roy Jones Jr for the WBF cruiserweight world championship on Friday and fans were treated to a clinic by the two old pros. After the fight, Bobby told us his strategy was to bring the 48-year-old Jones deep into the 12-round schedule and then unleash a torrent once the former four-time champ began to tire. It was not to be, however, as Jones spent the first seven rounds measuring Gunn and getting to him a little bit more with each round. Then, near the end of round 7, Jones landed a solid combination that opened a twin Yosemite of blood from the nose of the former cruiserweight champ. Between rounds his corner was unable to stem the flow and the fight was called, officially seven seconds into round 8.

Bobby now turns his attention back to bare knuckle boxing. He is the face of the sport, and he’s determined to bring fans some official action soon—though some unofficial action happened as quickly as a couple hours after his match with Jones had concluded. Having resented an insult by a hotel bar patron, Bobby demonstrated free of charge some of the technique that has made him the BKB world champ. As for news about upcoming official bouts, stay tuned.

Here are some images from the evening:

In the co-headliner, junior middleweight Kanat Islam, right, watches opponent Robson Assis get counted out in the 1st-round.

Video of Bobby Gunn’s entrance to the ring.

Gunn, near corner, and Jones get instruction prior to the 4th round.

Gunn and Jones 7th-round action.

After the decision, the fiercely loyal and protective Bobby Gunn Jr, right, is told by his dad that Jones deserves the highest respect.

After winning his championship match, Roy Jones Jr acts as trainer for German lightweight Ikram Kerwat during her victory over Britain Hart.

Police Gazette publisher Steven Westlake, right, and number-1 contender for the American BKB Championship belt Shannon Ritch.

Publisher Westlake with Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame president Scott Burt.

Bobby Gunn and publisher Westlake the morning after. Bobby fought two bouts the night before, one official the other impromptu. But some here still think he looks better than our publisher!

2017 Inductees Announced for Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame

Ceremony Will Be July 8th in Belfast, New York.

Must have fought completely bare fisted sometime in their career; no wraps:

Uriah “Hughie” Burton, Boxer (King of the Gypsies late 1950s-early 1970s; known as ‘Big Just’); Undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Ted Daley, Boxer; Living Inductee, Undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion.

Billy Edwards, Boxer; 1868-1872, Lightweight Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the World.

Bartley Gorman V, Boxer (King of the Gypsies 1972-1992); English born traveller of Welsh and Irish descent; Undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the UK and Ireland.

Daniel Mendoza, Boxer; Heavyweight Champion of England from 1792-1795 (34-3 w/30 KOs).

Shannon Ritch, Boxer; Living Inductee, bare knuckle record of 25-2 (25 KOs). Known as the “Most active fighter on the planet.” #1 Ranked Contender for America’s Police Gazette belt.

Must have brought positive spotlight to upstate New York:

Ed Atherton, Wrestler; 1902 World Champion from Belfast, New York, pupil of Wm. Muldoon.

Barry Broughton, Local Grand Master from Olean, New York; known worldwide.

Chris Guzman, World-renowned boxing artist; his work fills our Hall of Fame Room of Honor.

Roy Harding, Boxer; Local legend, fought 1929-1945, Soldier at Pearl Harbor during the attack.

Jimmy Holmes, Boxer; Indiana State Champion who trained in the Muldoon-Sullivan barns.

Tim Witherspoon, Boxer; 2-Time World Heavyweight Champion (WBC 1984, WBA 1986).

Gino Arilotta, Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame President.

Scott R. Burt, President
5 West Hughes Street; Belfast, New York 14711
(correspondence mailed to 3876 State Route 19; Scio, New York 14880)
For tickets: 585-610-3326 (cell/text) or


Could Mike Tyson Be in Line to Fight for the Police Gazette Belt?

For the past couple of months the internet rumor mill has been concocting a narrative that posits a return to the ring for Mike Tyson. But not in the way you might think. In the ring though he may be, this story has him not lacing up the gloves. He’d be going bare knuckle against Police Gazette-authorized world bare knuckle champion Bobby Gunn.

One would be wise to dismiss the assertions as fantasy, if there weren’t some real smoke in the tale, if not fire. Now, no less an authority than The Ring magazine (the successor to the Police Gazette as the world’s boxing authority) has looked into the claim and put it to rest, or have they? You be the judge….

Bobby Gunn vs Mike Tyson in a Bare-Knuckle Brawl?

The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame Trophy

On July 9th, the National Police Gazette was formally inducted into the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame as the first and only publication from the original era. The impact the Police Gazette and its publisher Richard K. Fox had on the sport of boxing as a whole, and bare knuckle boxing in particular, cannot be overstated.

Pictured below is the Gazette‘s BKBHOF trophy, accepted by current publisher Steven Westlake. During his acceptance speech, Westlake said “If Richard K. Fox were here today he would say ‘Is that all?’” Fox was known for his Stephen Colbert/Howard Stern-style faux grandiosity. But even this was in the service of making a sport thought to be the ultimate in low entertainment seem more refined and deserving of high status.

Shown behind the trophy is an original issue of the Police Gazette that describes the results of the famous John L. Sullivan versus Jake Kilrain bare knuckle boxing world championship.

Bare Knuckle Boxing Rules Announced

Introducing the official bare knuckle rules to ensure fighter safety as a top priority, as well as fair play and sportsmanship.

Bare Knuckle Boxing is a stand-up fight, where the contestants use their fists only. There will be no kicking, kneeing, elbows, wrestling, throw downs, biting, or eye gouging. Fights under our rules will be contested in bare knuckles only, with protective wrapping allowed only on the lower hand and wrist areas. Fights will be contested in a six (6) sided boxing ring or a four (4) sided boxing ring. Ring canvases must have two (2) lines on canvas 4 feet long and separated by 4 feet. This is to allow the fighters to step up to the line and begin the fight in close quarters. Fights will be contested in rounds of 3 minutes with a 1-minute rest period. Three rounds for regular contested matches, ten rounds for a championship match.


Hand wrapping:
Fighters will fight with bare knuckles. Bare knuckles, again, means the knuckles are open. The contestants are not allowed to wear bandages or hand wraps to cover their hands and knuckles. It is called Bare Knuckle Boxing for a reason.

Age of Participants:
No person under the age of 18 will be permitted to compete in Bare Knuckle Boxing. All contestants 36 years of age or older may be subject to further medical testing.

All fighters are allowed to have three seconds. Two seconds are allowed in the ring or on the ring apron at one time. There must be a cut man included as one of the seconds. Each corner will assign one second as “The Chief Second.”

In the event of a knockdown, the man standing must report to the farthest neutral corner and remain there until the referee instructs him to continue. If a fighter is knocked down and is able to continue, the two fighters must start back at the line. There will be no hitting of a downed opponent; if a contestant is hit while downed this can result in an automatic disqualification.

If a participant is cut where the referee thinks the cut is obstructing the vision of the cut fighter, the referee may call a time-out when there is a lull in action. The cut fighter will be given 1 minute for his cut man to attempt to control the bleeding. If, at the end of the 1 minute, the referee deems the fighter unable to continue, the fight will be stopped and awarded to the opponent.

The fight will be arbitrated by two (2) referees: One referee in the ring to control all the action in the ring, and the other referee on the outside of the ring to decide any dispute or questionable foul that may occur and not seen by the referee in the ring. The referee in the ring shall be the sole official for the fight, unless he feels he may have missed something. Then and only then may he consult with the second referee.

There will be three (3) judges that will score the fight on a 10-point-must system. The winner of the round will receive 10 points, with the loser of the round receiving 9 points or less. In the event of an even round the judge must score the bout 10-10 unless points have been deducted.

There shall be two (2) ringside physicians at every fight, with one physician assigned to each corner. The physician shall observe at all times the physical condition of the contestant and may stop any contest at any time to examine a participant and to recommend the termination of the bout when, in the judgment of the physician, serious injury could result to a participant if the contest continues.

Medical examinations:
Pre-fight examination: In addition to the testing requirements, which include a physical; a negative HIV, HEP B, HEP C test; a dilated eye exam; and a CAT scan of the brain, each boxer shall be examined by a physician within 8 hours of the time he enters the ring. If the physician feels the contestant is not physically fit to participate, he shall notify the person in charge and they shall cancel the bout.

Post-fight examination: Each contestant will be given a post-fight examination where the physician will determine if the contestant needs further medical supervision. In that case the contestant will be provided transportation to the nearest hospital.

Medical equipment:
No contest shall take place or be started unless there is an ambulance, together with emergency equipment and a portable resuscitator with oxygen, and a qualified operator on premises.

Fights shall be scored on the amount of punches and effectiveness of the punches. It is not just the volume of punches, but the punches that have the most effect.

A standing eight count will be used. There will NOT be a three-knockdown rule used. All fighters must wear a mouthpiece and a cup with a groin protector.

In addition, there will be weight categories: Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Cruiserweight, and Heavyweight. Also, very soon there will be female Bare Knuckle Boxing rules being posted for female professional bare knuckle boxers. The titles available will be North American International and World Champion status. The fighters are allowed to wear sponsorships from different companies to put on their fight gear. BKF will also supply professional Bare Knuckle Boxing gear for the fighters to compete in.

For more information visit and