By Richard Ryder
For over four centuries, Bare Knuckle Boxing has been the original form of boxing, also holding the title of original prizefighting. It’s involvement consists of two individuals fighting without boxing gloves or other forms of padding on their hands. The difference between a street-fight and a bare-knuckle boxing match is an accepted set of rules, such as not striking a downed opponent.
In Europe, BKB is used to settle disputes between families and groups. Each combatant would wage a sum of money in a winner take all battle. Rivalries have lasted for decades between the families.
The United States has had it’s share of talented fighters over these past few centuries, but that had died down since the 1970’s, when the evolution of professional gloved boxing left BKB with very little purpose in the States. BKB still quietly continued on in the United States but didn’t receive sanctioning or much attention outside of the Travelers realm.
The first sanctioned BKB match since 1889 took place last August 5, 2011, when Bobby Gunn defeated Richard Stewart to claim the vacant linear world heavyweight BKB title, last held by John L Sullivan. Gunn has gone on to defend that title a couple times, but has come under plenty of scrutiny and criticism over the manner of which he has done so.
Internet websites and forums had an eruption of sorts for a new growing interest in Bare Knuckle Boxing in the U.S. Enthusiasts made their choices of who they thought were the baddest and best within the current crop of fighters. Many debates and disagreements began over affiliations that were chosen. Instead of capitalizing on such great interest, the powers that be controlling BKB proceeded to drown-out the ancient sport instead of allowing it to grow into a modern sensation.
One fighter though has really kept the interest going within the BKB community. Chicago native and undefeated Bare Knuckle Boxer Willie Small (18-0) has became the voice of the voiceless for BKB in the United States. Unlike the powers that be in BKB, Small just wants his chosen combat sport to thrive and be honored the way it was meant to be honored.
Two months ago, Small made an appearance on the popular boxing talk show ATG Radio. He made a challenge to one of the fighting industries most recognizable fighters, undefeated Pro MMA and Bare Knuckle fighter DADA 5000.
DADA 5000 caught wind of Small’s challenge and called into the program to give his rebuttal. Not accepting or declining Small’s challenge, DADA 5000 proceeded in a war of words that generated brand new interest into the sport of BKB in America.
A week later, an agreement had been reached between Willie Small and DADA 5000. Small announced on ATG Radio that the fight was to take place in DADA’s hometown of Miami, Florida in November of this year. Many people have let their opinion be known that Small is in over his head for taking a fight against such a dangerous man in his hometown. The respectful Small sees it the other way around. DADA 5000 could possibly be the one who in over his head.
While the so-called current champions and dignitaries in today’s modern BKB world are doing a lot of talking, Willie Small is doing a lot of fighting. Willie Small is doing a lot for the betterment of BKB. Willie Small is the new face of Bare Knuckle Boxing.