Bareknuckle boxing match to be held in Arizona

Monday, July 18, 2011

A bareknuckle boxing match is going to be held in Scottdale, AZ, between a solid boxer and a winless MMA fighter. The site is a casino owned by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation does not have an Athletic Commission is not a member commission of the Association of Boxing Commissions. It is not clear whether the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation even has an Athletic Commission at all.

Bobby Gunn’s persistence has finally paid off. He’s been struggling to reintroduce bare knuckle boxing by the old London Prize Ring rules.

In 2010, he even called out Kimbo Slice to participate in such an event. Gunn’s offer was dismissed by Kimbo’s team who cited that such an event could never happen in today’s world.

“Well, it’s happening now,” Gunn said as I spoke with him on Saturday.

Gunn is a former IBA, WBC-USNBC, WBA-NABA, IBC and NABC Cruiserweight champion with a professional record of 21-4-1, with 18 knockouts. His last fight was two years ago when he unsuccessfully challenged Tomasz Adamek for the IBF cruiserweight title.

On August 5th, he will be fighting MMA fighter Chris ‘The Butcher’ Thompson at the Fort McDowell Casino in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“(Thompson) is a real big dude. He’s about 6’4” and 255 lbs. I’m actually at about 210 lbs myself. I’ve been training hard,” Gunn said. “It’s going to be under the London Prize Fight rules. The only thing that will be modified is that it’s going to be 90-second rounds. There will be 10 rounds.”

Gunn and promoter Dave Feldman hope that combat sports fans will take great interest in bare knuckle boxing.

“If you’re a striking fan, if you’re a boxing fan, if you’re someone who just likes to see two men fighting fist to fist, this is a wonderful sport,” Gunn said. “This is not a barroom brawl. It ain’t no back alley, unorganized event. This is a properly organized event with ringside physicians, referees, judges and timekeepers.”

The last heavyweight title fight that took place under the London Prize Ring rules was between Jake Kilrain and ‘The Great’ John L. Sullivan at Richburg, Mississippi on July 8, 1889. The 75-round battle ended with Sullivan knocking Kilrain out. He lost his first title defense under the Queensberry rules.

 “I think the way that we’re doing this, making sure everybody’s medically cleared and having everybody train the right way, I just think that we have something that’s going to eventually take off a little bit. I think it’s going to be a nice sport. People are always looking for the most extreme thing and how do you get more raw and more pure than bare knuckle boxing? I think it’s something that people will want to see,” Feldman said.

Feldman also mentioned the possibility of attracting some well known MMA fighters to the sport.

“In October, we have some bigger names on the horizon, like Ken Shamrock and a couple other guys who are interested in doing this too.”

The FelKO Promotions card will feature local amateur fighters competing in MMA and boxing, with Gunn vs. Thompson as the main event.

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