The naked boxing of a bygone era seeks a comeback
Bob Moen, Associated Press
June 1, 2018
Updated: June 1, 2018 11:14 a.m.
Photo: Archive, AP
Photo: Bob Moen, AP
The naked boxing of a bygone era seeks a reappearance
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – In 1889, the great John L. Sullivan, the strong guy from Boston, beat Jake Kilrain in 75 rounds – yes, 75 – in what the International Boxing Hall of Fame has called the "last nudist fight significant in boxing. "
Since then, the only glove fights that many people have witnessed have consisted of bar fights.
But Saturday night, 10 boxing matches, including one involving wrestlers, will take place at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center.
The event, available on PPV, is touted as the first legal event, regulated and sanctioned fistfight in the history of the United States. In the days of Sullivan, there were no sanctioning bodies and few or no regulations.
"I think that's what the public wants to see, the public is asking for something new," said promoter David Feldman, noting that it has been 25 years since the advent of UFC mixed martial arts. "We hope to head towards a new era in combat sports."
Boxers may wrap their thumbs and wrists, but will not use any protection on their knuckles, as boxers normally do in traditional boxing, MMA or other combat sports where padded gloves of various thicknesses are used.
Each bout is scheduled for five 2-minute rounds, played in a ring with round ropes instead of the traditional one.
Nude knuckle regulations are otherwise similar to those of the boxing glove, in that the opponents can only throw punches and there is a rule of eight counts and three knockdowns.
"But when you're in a clinch, you can hit with an open hand, put the back of your neck in blows," Feldman said. "So it gives a little more emotion in the rivets"
ESPN boxing columnist Nigel Collins said the gloves, originally known as silencers, were introduced around the 18th century to help protect the hands of wrestlers and the aristocrats who took the sport. .
Collins said he personally is not interested in fighting a clean fist, "but I would not hit him, if that's what people want to do, let them do it." He said it would be hypocritical for boxing and other martial arts fans to object to danger and brutality.
The organization Feldman & # 39; s Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships has been trying to sanction naked boxing in several states. The State Board of Mixed Martial Arts of Wyoming, created in 2012, was the first to do so.
Board Chairman Bryan Pedersen said the board received no opposition and saw the event as an opportunity to provide better security than the unregulated bad -Nuke fights. Ringside doctors, for example, are required in battles sanctioned by the state.
The board reviewed research that indicated that boxing without gloves would be safer than other combat sports, especially when it comes to concussions, Pedersen said.
you observe what we already regulate in the state of Wyoming: we regulate kickboxing and MMA, right? he said. "In those two, you could have an elbow on your head, a knee in the head or a kick in the shin in your head, and go out to your yard and hit a basketball and kick a basketball and see what's more far".  Wrestler Bobby Gunn, who is on the card Saturday night, said Wyoming is bringing a sport that exists underground in the light of day.
"I do not have to worry about being arrested," Gunn said with a smile.
Pedersen also sees advantages for the state of Wyoming: "I see all this as a giant economic possibility for diversity in our state and to really help promote the Cowboy State and our strong sense of Western independence."
Ricco Rodriguez, a former UFC champion who is making his first fight attempt on Saturday, said it seems safer for him than other gloved fights because athletes know they need to be more careful not to injure their hands.  "You hit an elbow or hit the back of the head or something, you're liab" To finally break your hand, "Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said his training for Saturday included conditioning his hands hitting Wooden dummies and knuckles on his knuckles.
He said he likes the idea of participating in the construction of a new combat sport, and he said: "I think it's the purest form of fighting."
Feldman said that when people first hear about the sport of naked knuckles, it always provokes a reaction.
"Because of that reaction, we're going to surprise the world on Saturday night," he said.