Bobby Gunn Wins Bare-Knuckle Debut Vs. Rich Stewart, Believes The Sport Will Become “Huge”

By James Slater: A piece of boxing history was made over the weekend, as cruiserweight contender and former world title challenger Bobby Gunn engaged in a bare-knuckle fight with Rich Stewart. The first bare-knuckle fight since way, way back in the late 1800s, Gunn’s 3rd-round TKO victory proved a most interesting spectacle to the fans.

As reported by, Gunn-Stewart pulled in over 800,000 fans, who saw the fight as it happened via the outlet. With the win, 38-year-old Gunn - a genuine tough guy if ever there was one - won the vacant bare-knuckle boxing title. The last holder of the title? The legendary John. L Sullivan!

As fans who understood this fight was going down will no doubt know, the fight came under a fair amount of criticism in many quarters, but Gunn told thesweetscience that there were many misconceptions going into Saturday’s bout.

“A big misconception was that the fight was going to be a street fight or a bar fight,” Gunn said after picking up his win. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fighters only have a three-and-a-half inch gap to strike, from the eyes to the nose, around the side of the temple. When you throw a shot to the jaw you have to be careful you hit the side of the jaw. The teeth can split your hands wide open, and if you hit too high above the eyebrows you can shatter your hand on the forehead.

“Bare-knuckle boxing is not about wasting shots throwing wild punches; it’s about precise accurate shots that are effective.”

Gunn has clearly made the transition to the sport better than has Stewart, as his TKO win proves. A hard body attack got Stewart in trouble in the 3rd, before a left hook to the jaw dropped him to the mat. Downed a second time, this time by a right hand to the top of the head, Stewart was then saved by the referee.

“Waking up the next day, my hands were a bit sore,” Gunn said. “But that was the extent of the damage. The public enjoys watching fights because they want to see two pros who know what they’re doing. I believe that following this first match the sport is going to take off and become huge.”

Gunn went on to say how he is hoping to line up a “big name” for his next fight. “I will fight anybody they put in front of me,” he exclaimed.

So, how far and how big can bare-knuckle boxing become here is the 2000s? Will any big names aside from Gunn (who is well known to hardcore boxing fans) wish to risk taking a fight with no gloves? 800,000 fans tuning in shows something, that’s for sure: that there could be a market for bare-knuckle boxing. Time will tell, of course, as to whether or not the novelty value will wear off, or the sport will become as big as Gunn feels it will.

Article posted on 08.08.2011

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