Bare Knuckle (also known as prize fighting or fisticuffs) means, just that, without gloves or any other hand protection, although some will include a light hand wrap.
Although unarmed punch-up’s have obviously been around since man realised they could throw a punch and hurt their fellow man, bare knuckle fighting as a recognised sport wasn’t realised until the early 18th century when in 1719 James Figg opened an amphitheatre in Tottenham Court Road, London.
There are various types of bare knuckle fighting from many countries, such as London Prize Ring, Irish Stand Down and Russian Fist Fighting, all with different rules. One of the main rules for most, is no striking an opponent when they are down.
Of course today it is outlawed in most countries and has mostly transformed into unlicensed and illegal fights, with a lot of controversy over the morality and potential severe injuries caused, becoming sermon nous with the travelling communities throughout the world to settle arguments, disagreements and just pure dislike of another family/person. Of course many argue about the injuries sustained in western boxing have a more serious and longer term affect, especially to the brain.
Having just said all that, as recently as 2011, the newly formed ‘World Bare Knuckle Boxing Association’ apparently sanctioned a fight, creating the first world heavyweight bare knuckle boxing champion in over 123 years with former IBA Cruiserweight champion Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn.
Bare Knuckle Training
Training usually consists of general conditioning, lots of bag work (bare hands and no wrist wraps/supports), striking semi hard surfaces, speed work, strength training and foot work.
Just like western boxing the ability to stay away and dodge punches is as important as being able to strike your opponent. Many of today’s fights will allow punches to the body, arms, even gouging, grappling and more.
Bare Knuckle Equipment/Gear Used (mostly for training)
Speed balls (various)
Heavy bags (various)
Just a few past and present bare knuckle fighters
William Perry (Tipton Slasher)
Movies featuring Bare Knuckle Fighting