The Bare Knuckle scene in the UK is growing, former MMA fighters moving as well as boxers transitioning to the sport.
Bare Knuckle was the original combat sport before the Queensbury Rule’s came into place and with promotions in the UK and U.S putting on some high profile match up’s, now could be the best time for fighters to become involved.
One fighter who has been involved in Bare Knuckle for a number of years is Sean George. George is due to take on a recent recruit from boxing, Tyler Goodjohn in a highly anticipated matchup.
George told MMA UK he feels his experience will help him win the BKB featherweight title.
“Yes, I am due to fight Tyler Goodjohn on September 14th for the BKB featherweight world title,” George told me. “Whoever wins will be making history as it’s a new world title at that weight. I do feel my experience gives me the edge, with it only being Tyler’s third BKB fight.
“It’s my 16th BKB fight so, yes, there isn’t much I have not seen or been up against. So I think experience will come in to play. That’s not taking anything away from Tyler as he has had two top fights and two top wins.
“Tyler is undefeated in BKB and I expect him to show up with his A game. I expect him to expect me to chase him. Make me miss. Make me pay kind of fight. But I’ve already been world champ. I see it as Tyler wants it more than me. Let him come forward and get it. I should be the bigger and stronger out of the two of us.”
I asked George on why he feels Bare Knuckle has been growing recently.
“BKB is growing fast and attracting a lot of attention,” he said. “I think it’s because it’s as real as it gets, purest form, and it displays what people want to see. Two tough guys going toe to toe. Blood, sweat splatting and teeth flying. And not to forget huge knockouts. I think it has built a good momentum and is not going to stop now.”
With a host of MMA fighters moving to Bare Knuckle in the last year, does George think this is helping the sport?
“Yes, there has been good movement of MMA fighters to BKB. I do think it is good for the growth of the sport as good names bring good crowds and also open the door for their fellow MMA colleagues. As we have already seen.”
Former boxing world champion, Paulie Malignaggi recently faced former UFC fighter Artem Lobov in a much-hyped fight in the American promotion BKFC. I asked George what his thoughts on the fight were.
“To be honest I’ve not sat down and watched the full fight between Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi,” Geroge said. “What I saw was pretty poor from the elite fighters that they both are. But I know they are still getting used to fighting bare-knuckle. It does take time to adjust and adapt to the sport. Also, Paulie’s hands are already fucked so can’t see him doing too many more. On that note, we are BKB and they are BKFC, worlds apart so I say let them do them and we carry on doing us.”
Why did George take up the sport?
“What made me want to do bareknuckle?” George pondered. “Well, I’ve always been involved in some sort of martial art. I did Muay Thai for many years alongside MMA. I had time out then, with family before returning. Fighting K1 and Thai. I came across a video on the net of my mate fighting BKB in a ring on a football field. I was intrigued by it and automatically hooked. Within a month I was signed, matched and on a plane to Newcastle to fight my first BKB.
“I did well with winning that fight and also taking fight of the night. Then the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve had 15 BKB fights. 10 wins 3 losses and two draws. I’m the former middleweight British champ, former lightweight world champ. Current lightweight British champ and going for the featherweight world title. I see myself as an asset to the company and also the foundations of the building of BKB alongside Jimmy Sweeney and Ricky Nelder, as compared to all the rest of the team we are in double figures.”