|Also known as||Fisticuffs, Prizefighting, Classical Pugilism, Illegal Boxing|
|Focus|| Striking |
|Country of origin||England|
|Parenthood||Ancient Greek boxing, Street fighting|
Bare-knuckle boxing (also known as bare-knuckle, prizefighting, fist fight or fisticuffs) is the original form of boxing, closely related to ancient combat sports. It involves two individuals fighting without boxing gloves or other padding on their hands.
The difference between street fighting and a bare-knuckle boxing match is that the latter has an accepted set of rules, such as not striking a downed opponent. The rules that provided the foundation for bare-knuckle boxing for much of the 18th and 19th centuries were the London Prize Ring Rules.
Bare-knuckle boxing has seen a resurgence in the 21st century with the English promotion BKB™️ (Bare Knuckle Boxing) which was the first sanctioned Bare Knuckle promotion in the world & American promotion Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC).
According to the boxing chronicle Pugilistica, the first newspaper report of a boxing match in England dates from 1681, when the Protestant Mercury stated: "Yesterday a match of boxing was performed before his Grace the Duke of Albemarle, between the Duke's footman and a butcher. The latter won the prize, as he hath done many before, being accounted, though but a little man, the best at that exercise in England."
The first bare-knuckle champion of England was James Figg, who claimed the title in 1719 and held it until his retirement in 1730. Before Jack Broughton, the first idea of current boxing originated from James Figg, who is viewed as the organizer of cutting edge boxing. In 1719, he set up a 'pugilistic foundation' and charged himself as 'a professional in the Noble Science of Defense' to instruct boxers on the utilization of clench hands, sword, and quarterstaff. Noted champions were Jack Broughton, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Daniel Mendoza, Jem Belcher, Hen Pearce, John Gully, Tom Cribb, Tom Spring, Jem Ward, James Burke, William "Bendigo" Thompson, Ben Caunt, William Perry, Tom Sayers and Jem Mace.
The record for the longest bare-knuckle fight is listed as 6 hours and 15 minutes for a match between James Kelly and Jonathan Smith, fought near Fiery Creek, Victoria, Australia, on December 3, 1855, when Smith gave in after 17 rounds.
The bare-knuckle fighter Jem Mace is listed as having the longest professional career of any fighter in history. years into his 60s, and recorded his last exhibition bout in 1909 at the age of 78.He fought for more than 35
Professional bare-knuckle boxing was never legal under any federal or state laws in the United States until Wyoming became the first to legalize on March 20, 2018. Prior to that date, the chief sanctioning organization for bare-knuckle boxing was the magazine National Police Gazette , which set up matches and issued championship belts throughout the 1880s. The Police Gazette sanctioned what is considered the last major bare-knuckle heavyweight world championship, between John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain on July 8, 1889, with Sullivan emerging as the victor.
Since then, other claimants to being sanctioned bare-knuckle championship bouts include the August 5, 2011, match at Fort McDowell Casino on the Yavapai Nation reservation in Arizona. The Native American tribe sanctioned the bout between Rich Stewart of New Castle, Delaware and Bobby Gunn, with Gunn emerging as the victor.Other noted champions were Tom Hyer, Yankee Sullivan, Nonpareil Dempsey, Tom Sharkey, Bob Fitzsimmons and John Morrissey.
With the emergence of contemporary bare-knuckle promotions like the BKFC and BKB, a number of sanctioned and officially recognized bare-knuckle boxing champions have been crowned. This includes former mixed martial artist Joey Beltran, who holds the BKFC Heavyweight Championship and the National Police Gazette American Heavyweight Championship. [ citation needed ]In Italian Bare Knuckle Fight on street, before the federation, the rules are similar at MMA rules. One of the first Italian street fighters to transport this new style of bare knuckle fight in Internet is Christopher D'Addesa, nickname "Krisman", with a record of 31 wins and 1 loss (from tap out before the fight).
Early fighting had no written rules. There were no weight divisions or round limits and no referee resulting in very chaotic fights. An early article on boxing was published in Nottingham, 1713, by Sir Thomas Parkyns, a successful Wrestler from Bunny, Nottinghamshire, who had practised the techniques he described. The article, a single page in his manual of wrestling and fencing, Progymnasmata: The inn-play, or Cornish-hugg wrestler, described a system of headbutting, punching, eye-gouging, chokes, and hard throws, not recognized in boxing today.Consequently, there were no round limits to fights. When a man could not come to scratch, he would be declared loser and the fight would be brought to a halt. Fights could also end if broken up beforehand by crowd riot, police interference or chicanery, or if both men were willing to accept that the contest was a draw. While fights could have enormous numbers of rounds, the rounds in practice could be quite short with fighters pretending to go down from minor blows to take advantage of the 30-second rest period.
Even though Broughton's era brought rules to make boxing more civilized, there were still many moves in this era that are illegal in today's gloved boxing. That being said, there were also new revolutionary techniques that were formulated during this time. Grappling was allowed during this time and many favored the use of cross-buttocks throw and suplexes, although grabs below the waist were illegal.Clinching, known as chancery, were also legal and in-use. Fibbing, where a boxer grabs hold of an opponent by the neck or hair and pummel him multiple times, were allowed. The traditional bare-knuckle boxing stance was actually designed to combat against the use of grappling as well as block punching. Kicking was also allowed in boxing at that time, with Wiliam "Bendigo" Thompson being an expert in kicks during his fight with Ben Caunt, and the Lancanshire Navigator using purring kicks in his battle with Tom Cribb.
It was during classical pugilism where many famous boxing techniques were invented. Samuel Elias was the first to invent a punch that would later become known as the uppercut.Tom Spring popularized the use of the left hook and created a technique called the "Harlequin Step" where he would put himself just within reach of his opponent, then avoiding the instinctive punch while simultaneously delivering one himself, basically inventing the boxing feint. Daniel Mendoza would become the inventor of the outboxer-style of boxing.
"Irish stand down" is a type of traditional bare knuckle fighting where the aspect of maneuvering around the ring is removed, leaving only the less nuanced aspects of punching and "taking" punches. This form of combat was popular in Irish American ghettos in the United States in the late 19th century but was eclipsed in the Irish American community first by bare knuckle boxing and then later by regulation boxing. The Irish stand down is also known as strap fighting or toe to toe.
Modern bare-knuckle boxing, a contemporary form of bare-knuckle boxing, exists on a small scale worldwide. Promotions include the UK's Ultimate Bare Knuckle Boxing and Bare Knuckle Boxing (BKB™), the American promotion Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), and the Russian promotion Top Dog Fighting Championship (Top Dog FC).
Modern bouts have several changes from traditional gloved boxing rules. Notably, there is an 18-second count on any knockdown. The 18-count is used in BKB™ while the BKFC uses the traditional 10-count. Fights consist of 3x2 rounds (5x2/7x2 for title fights).
|Super Welterweight||Rob Boardman|
|Light Heavyweight||Anthony Holmes|
|Super Middleweight||Anthony Holmes|
|Super Welterweight||Daniel Lerwell|
|Super Welterweight||Luis Palomino|
|World Heavyweight||Bobby Gunn|
|American Heavyweight||Chase Sherman|
|American Lightweight||Johnny Bedford|
|World Women's Featherweight||Bec Rawlings|
|American Women's Featherweight||Helen Peralta|
Robert James "Bob" Fitzsimmons was a British professional boxer who was the sport's first three-division world champion. He also achieved fame for beating Gentleman Jim Corbett, and he is in The Guinness Book of World Records as the lightest heavyweight champion, weighing just 165 pounds when he won the title. Nicknamed Ruby Robert and The Freckled Wonder, he took pride in his lack of scars and appeared in the ring wearing heavy woollen underwear to conceal the disparity between his trunk and leg-development.
Tom Cribb was a world champion English bare-knuckle boxer of the 19th century.
Thomas Molineaux, sometimes spelled Molyneaux, was an African bare-knuckle boxer and possibly a former slave. He spent much of his career in Great Britain and Ireland, where he had some notable successes. He arrived in England in 1809 and started his fighting career there in 1810. It was his two fights against Tom Cribb, widely viewed as the Champion of England, that brought fame to Molineaux, although he lost both contests. The result of the first encounter was hotly contested, with accusations of a fix. The second, losing contest with Cribb, however, was undisputed. His prizefighting career ended in 1815. After a tour that took him to Scotland and Ireland, he died in Galway, Ireland in 1818, aged 34.
James "Jem" Mace was an English boxing champion, primarily during the bare-knuckle era. He was born at Beeston, Norfolk. Although nicknamed "The Gypsy", he denied Romani ethnicity in his autobiography. Fighting in England, at the height of his career between 1860 and 1866, he won the English Welterweight, Heavyweight, and Middleweight Championships and was considered one of the most scientific boxers of the era. Most impressively, he held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1870 to 1871 while fighting in the United States.
John "Jack" Broughton was an English bare-knuckle boxer. He was the first person to codify a set of rules to be used in such contests; prior to this the "rules" that existed were very loosely defined and tended to vary from contest to contest. His seven rules of how boxing would be conducted at his amphitheatre evolved later into the London Prize Ring rules which are widely regarded as the foundation stone of the sport that would become boxing, prior to the development of the Marquess of Queensberry rules in the 1860s.
Nat Langham was an English middleweight bare-knuckle prize fighter. He had the distinction of being the only person ever to beat Thomas Sayers while defending the English middleweight championship. Langham first took the championship by defeating George Gutteridge on 23 November 1846. Langham was considered a scientific boxer, and known for using sharp, well-timed blows, particularly with his left, though he was right handed. He was a 1992 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a mentor to the British boxers Tom King and Jem Mace.
Simon Byrne, nicknamed "The Emerald Gem", was an Irish bare-knuckle prize fighter. The heavyweight boxing champion of Ireland, he was drawn to England by the larger sums of prize money on offer and his hopes of becoming the heavyweight champion there as well. He became one of only six fighters ever to have been involved in fatal fights as both survivor and deceased since records began in 1741.
Jem Ward was an English bare-knuckle boxer. "A fine fighter and powerfully built man", he was the English heavyweight champion from 1825 until 1831. He became known for being one of the first boxers to be officially sanctioned for deliberately losing a fight. During his fighting career he was nicknamed "The Black Diamond". In his retirement he became a successful artist.
Nicholas Ward often known as Nick Ward was an English bare-knuckle fighter. Nick Ward was the heavyweight champion of England for four months in 1841. His first recorded fight was in 1835 against Harry John Lockyer. In 1840 he fought his brother's old enemy James Burke; Burke was a feared and dangerous fighter, who had killed one opponent, the champion Simon Byrne. Following the match Jem Ward had refused to fight Burke, would not hand over the championship belt or acknowledge Burke as the heavyweight champion, even after he was acquitted of murder. Nick Ward won the bout against Burke when his gang of supporters forced the referee to disqualify Burke for an alleged foul. This winning pattern was repeated when in February 1841 Ward became heavyweight champion. He beat Ben Caunt, the reigning champion, when Caunt was disqualified, after the referee succumbed to pressure from the crowd claiming Caunt hit Ward while he was down. In May of the same year Caunt legitimately beat Ward and regained his title. At this time boxing was governed by the less than arduous London Prize Ring rules. The more strict and fair Queensbury rules were not implemented until much later in the century.
Tom Spring was an English bare-knuckle fighter. He was heavyweight champion of England from 1821 until his retirement in 1824. After his retirement he became landlord of the Castle Inn at Holborn in London, where he arranged the patronage and contracts of many of the major boxing events of the period while overseeing fair play in the ring.
Joseph Goss was an English bare knuckle boxer. After defeating Tom Allen in Boone County, Kentucky, he held the American and what many boxing historians now consider the World Heavyweight boxing championship from 7 September 1876 to 30 May 1880. Although he rarely scaled more than 160 pounds, the clever and aggressive Goss routinely fought men both bigger and heavier than himself.
Joe Coburn was an Irish-American boxer. In 1862 he claimed the Heavyweight Championship from John Carmel Heenan when Heenan refused to fight him.
Shannon Grey Ritch is an American professional mixed martial artist, boxer, grappler, professional wrestler and kickboxer. In mixed martial arts competition he is the former King of the Cage Middleweight Champion and the current BKFC International Heavyweight Champion in bare-knuckle boxing. A professional competitor since 1998, Ritch has competed for M-1 Global, Combate Americas, MFC, Shark Fights, Pancrase, Battlarts, K-1, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, PRIDE, Rebel Fighting Championship, King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge and the WEC.
Tom Allen was a bare-knuckle boxer who claimed the Heavyweight Championship from 1873, when he defeated Mike McCoole, until 1876, when he lost to Joe Goss. For much of his earlier career he fought just above the middleweight range, around 165-75, making him smaller than most of the heavyweights he met.
Paddington Jones was a British bare-knuckle boxer from 1785 to 1805. He is best remembered for fighting and seconding the most number of fights for any boxer of his era. His bout with Jem Belcher was considered by a few historians to be for a Championship of England, though the boxers differed significantly in weight. There was no formal sanctioning body to confer global or even national championship status on the fight during the period, and no real formal recognition of weight classes at the time.
James Belcher, also known as Jem Belcher, was an English bare-knuckle prize-fighter and Champion of All England 1800–1805.
The Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame is a museum and hall of fame in Belfast, New York, dedicated to the sport of bare-knuckle boxing. It is housed in barns that were once owned by the Greco-Roman wrestling champion and physical culture pioneer William Muldoon. The heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan, who fought in both bare-knuckled and gloved boxing contests, trained in these barns under Muldoon's guidance for his championship bout against Jake Kilrain in 1889. The barns were originally across Main Street from their current location, on the grounds of the Belfast Catholic Church. They were bought, moved, and restored by Scott Burt when the church became no longer interested in maintaining them. Burt opened the Hall of Fame in 2009, when it had its first induction class.
Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) is an American bare-knuckle boxing promotion based in Philadelphia. BKFC is the first promotion to hold an official state-sanctioned and commissioned bare-knuckle boxing event in the United States since 1889. Its first event was held in 2018, with 17 "numbered" events held as of March 2021. BKFC has featured notable talents such as Elvin Leon Brito, Jim Alers, Artem Lobov, Ricco Rodriguez, Charles Bennett, Kendall Grove, Chris Lytle, Joe Riggs, Chase Sherman, Leonard Garcia, Eric Prindle, Joey Beltran, Bec Rawlings, Shannon Ritch, Bobby Gunn, Jason Knight, Johnny Bedford, Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Morrow, and Chris Leben.
Thomas Owen was an English bare-knuckle boxer who took the heavyweight championship of England in 1796 against William Hooper in Harrow, England.
The year 2018 is the 1st year in the history of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, a bare-knuckle fighting promotion based in Philadelphia. The season started with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 1: The Beginning. BKFC is available on PPV all over the world and on FITE TV.
David Snowdon, Writing the Prizefight: Pierce Egan's Boxiana World (2013)