Underground Bare Knuckle Boxing in the UK

[Music] of all the forms of fighting known to man one name strikes fear further into the hearts of those who hear him bare-knuckled for hundreds of years the men of Britain have rammed their unprotected fists into each other’s bodies to decide who was the hardest of them all noble men to travelers to family men and gangsters being a bare-knuckle fighter is something that marks you out for the rest of society it’s a thoroughly British bloodsport that gradually sank further into the criminal underground as the rest of society became more civilized it’s a sport of legend on earth an astonishing violence bare-knuckle fighting is a world that most people think they understand but few have actually seen now a number of fighters and promoters are trying to take it into the mainstream setting up the most anticipated bare-knuckle fight in over 150 years America versus Britain and I wanted to know if the sport can ever truly take itself out of its underground past [Music] the common perception bare-knuckle fighting is the only Irish travelers and East End hard men still do it be an actual fact there’s still a thriving underground and the fighters come from all walks of life and it originates here in the UK I’m here in Hinkley just outside Leicester to meet Andy top lip now Andy runs a promotion company called b-bad promotions and what he aims to do with that company is to kind of bring bare-knuckle into the mainstream it’s an awesome coming fight company intrigued to know more about the history of bare-knuckle and why now it seems to build me up we met at a patriotic pub just outside Leicester Andy has again what is the history of bare-knuckle fighting in England and Britain bare-knuckle fighting as a sport was absolutely categorically English it was an English thing the Europeans feared English men for their fighting ability it’s actually a British heritage manacle fighting it’s where boxing comes from certainly in the 18th century very very a big sport even the royal family they would want to know who won you know if it was a big fight they were like superstars of today and how about your own background how did you get into bare-knuckle from a very young age – yeah and I was brought up in the travelling community and my hands are there destroyed basically now they’re deformed because of it obviously in the bare-knuckle world there has always been a quite a lot of input with criminals you know I mean I wanted to push all of that out I wanted that gone you know how to sanity to be birds and keep it as a proper sport I really want to get this regulated and get it mainstream we started the first UK belt since you know way over 100 years and then I thought well want one extra step and we’ll go for the Atlantic belt which is a real historic event I’d always wanted to get you know an Americans come over Jason Young this is the man went of getting over into this country making history with this guy being here the last time an American was in this country fighting for and about you know against the UK champion 1863 mr. doom Jason have flown into the UK prior to the fight and had surrounded himself with some of the most knowledgeable fighters in the UK including ex panicle champion paddy Monahan famous for his friendship with Muhammad Ali but he couldn’t stick around for long as he was off to Wing Chun Grand Master Samuel quacks martial arts retreat in Blackpool a man who apparently once trained with Bruce Lee clearly Jason was taking this fight very seriously but whilst my own experiences of fighting at fairly pathetic I was intrigued to meet a man who’d been fighting since the age of 10 James gypsy boy mccrory from Newcastle a living legend in the bare-knuckle scene and the man pitted up against Jason young in the Atlantic title fight we met him at his local horn a 50s themed diner in the centre of town so what’s good if everything is Gordon put up the burgers are hugely these my coming out cousin burger princes yeah yes commanded to sell beyond our means a toothache your nickname is gypsy boy where does that come from obviously have trouble all our lives laden and worked all over is being Irish a big part you’re kind of i fighting heritage yeah yeah I there no Balin I love going battleship me Mom Robert I love fair spent only family honestly had a loose simplicity like that cutter Watson to me big softy love me family you know I lose the people in daily you know the treatment got full of roads and I like crapper ah I prefer to get full of Guinness and I may media’s have been a monastic spot and he warned me you know how good the cake that’s it so I’m gonna fall care you know James a self-professed soft Ian family man invited us to his house to me he’s charming and long-suffering girlfriend Leanne I love being live in sort of port you know I’m shocked a lot of people let me down I want breads but I don’t know I mean and I’ve got a good girl and she’s probably off hopefully one day motherly you know where she drives me bonkers yeah I would Oh our little eyes yeah hey I’m glad you want a coupon Oh mediums are very very different like you couldn’t get two people more different in regards to what I like how I’ve lived while I use choice of mermaid how do you feel about him being considered like a legend because it’s James it’s fan mail now we’re just quite person you see like the fights in YouTube that’s not him like I know what is but that’s not personal I don’t like it to be honest with you when you come back from the day ride bike ride his face was really it was blood clean them Sarah watch the dual ear twice I was just all for it’s not just about him having a faint it’s the effect that it can have on us in regards as a couple build up a certain face you take attain bomb blasts on that way a bit of a bad time and I thought you know this is not working and we but I’ve never seen anybody fight as much as what he did to get me back [Music] having learned about the origins of bare knuckle and spend time with some of the biggest names in the game it was time to see it in the flesh b bob was holding an event and Colwyn Bay North Wales the first fight between a pair of seemingly well matched middle weights was over in seconds the second and last fight of the night was something that will stay with me forever Seth Jones a 46 year old local solicitor and lunatic known as the Bangor hammer took on a man 20 years younger than himself only to go the distance in a fight that was as controversial as it was thrilling [Music] [Applause] the solicitor is bending the rules someone [Applause] [Applause] after what seemed like hours they called it a draw it seemed odd to see so much blood what was supposedly a stalemate but I couldn’t call a winner either Seth seemed likely taken more abuse but Aaron looked exhausted is my first fight cut myself forwards for it when I saw it in the internet for a 13 stone fighter how does it feel fighting someone who’s 20 years older than you don’t really matter Oliver I’ve had street fights of older people since or being young you know what I mean used to get in trouble fighting and a lot lot drink it’ll make you a more peaceful person yeah I’m peaceful anyway but are you also getting a lot of street fights how does that kind of you forgetting street fights when I was younger so I hang around with the wrong crowd my gentleman was going a bit too much now I know how it feels I can control it a little bit more thing come on it’s fight or comes out on my left I got poked in it but I think yeah it’s a good result from both of us I’m tough of it how do you feel right now buzzing I think I feel worse tomorrow morning you know I mean I’ve had worse didn’t it yeah yeah how does it feel fighting guys who what considerably younger than you half my age half your age that’s just the nature of bare-knuckle boxing you know I fought guys older than myself I don’t mind fighting the only guys I don’t know I just like fighting do you fight in the streets no no that days I used to have a lot of fights when I was a younger built up a bit of a reputation in the area but it was a huge mistake in my life being a bit of a thug to being a bit of a drug smuggler to go on a prison and then I realized you know this is not the life and so I decided to go in back to school I had studied law in the time I’d spent in the world of bare knuckle so far I began to realize that the sport had a kind of gravitational pull for lost souls many of the guys we’d spoken to seemed to be people who made bad decisions in life and perhaps in bare-knuckle they found a way to utilize their talents which happened to lay in a realm the normal society finds barbaric however I wondered if organised violence was a cure or a symptom of angry young men [Applause] [Music] [Applause] hello friends its James the author I’ll be happy in 24 hours I used to be a very unhappy person very violent person bare-knuckle fighter bouncer an unlicensed boxer and these are some of the tips and strategies that helped me change my life and literally become the happy person I am today helping society and being the happy coach tiring from the sport undefeated James Lambert it taking a complete u-turn from his life of violence and reinvented himself as a lifestyle and fitness coach calling himself mr. happy how long we live quite aggressively now I think it’s coming up to two years we basically moved here for the peace and quiet and as you know sir you can see if it’s as cold a sack it’s very peaceful we’ve got super neighbors did you want one sugar my friend so you were always a fighter there was always this fascination with fighting I was an unhappy angry violent person I went out into the world and lo and behold I found other angry violent scared young men you know somebody would catch my eye I would catch dares and a fight would ensue it was that ridiculous can you remember your first medical fight of course mixed emotions even to the state because I was I was terrified I used fear as a form of energy transmuted that into positive energy that drove me into into my victories but again I found it very empty when I got home I was still left with my problems not just outside but but in my mind so the fight did nothing to make me to make me happy did you know other fighters who felt similarly we see this is a thing it’s never spoken about certainly not within that world where emotion is immediately and very directly equated with weakness Olympic can change his boss and that’s very important because I hear a goddess am I and we accept things because they’re said they’re not always true we have to examine this it’s our you may be a parent and your son or daughter to prove doubt some difficulties never give up on them never get up on them your brother your son your friend could be an alcoholic a drug addict never give up on them people have the power to change and help me in them I’ve done it myself even when you win that there was great pain you know my ribs could have been fractured I broke and you know always cuts to the face but worse than that was the mental trauma it was realized in the game why I had done the person that I was becoming and that really did affect me mentally I think now looking back I became depressed I suppose there were thoughts thoughts of self-harm maybe saw thoughts of actually you know if this is here I thought I don’t I don’t actually want to be I don’t want any part of this and that that was actually profoundly upsetting of upsetting for me and I felt terrible so that that was actually a pretty you know pretty low evening and I’d like to say it was the last but you know that did happen a lot James have removed everything that would remind him of his past life is a violent young man apart from a punch bag which still hangs in the garage where he coaches his clients do you still hit the bag actually I I personally chosen not to I suppose about two years ago when I decided to fully refrain from fighting and for me that’s violence inwards thought and deed so for me at this current point in my life I’m open to change it might change next week other people can keep it controlled I fear that I the anchor wouldn’t just stay here and the game it would leak into other aspects of my love life so I’ve just made the personal decision to not hit anything if you like for a while so far Pincus Margulies me and James is really surprising because here you’ve got a guy who’s in the banner ongoing for years and came out of it undefeated yeah in some way he feels kind of ashamed and he will MIT that he is haunted by his past and looking at what he does now it seems that his entire life is this kind of struggle to put that to bed and he does seem to be winning that struggle admirably so and they missed a happy thing I guess is a way of him keeping that down but behind that mr. happy persona you do see flashes of the old James this kind of machine that used to render men unconscious as he said but he will be the first to admit that and he says that you know he hasn’t conquered his demons yet now in this kind of suburban life perhaps he’s fighting his biggest battle of all the first UK versus u.s. bare-knuckle fight over 150 years is just days away so we’ve come back to Newcastle to see James McQuarrie who’s in the middle of his training preparations get their weights done like one of your opponents you’ve got to get a chance at the start in a minute so when you’re coming out are there any kind of like routines and if Castleman de la Cruz and Halen doesn’t be wearing mini cost on top of me it was short bastards where would you like to see the sport going maybe 10 15 years time you know everybody had big arenas you know what I’ll be well maybe I may not have the money calm is gone well often myself I made some bacon in 15 years 10 I hope the pressure out boys can you explain to me what it’s like in the pit so nearly three beers are here by this year three beers here this year it’s hitting two steps you know and there’s some home and you’re there you know I’d be like fit with a job or moving behind the boat you know I mean I’m late establish your job the sort of thing you know I mean then it’ll show you get the one to win I mean and then no movie had a bit you know what I’d be trying to do someone’s dumping me and I and then maybe scum doing a better huh I’m bang bring a boy shotgun and I draw honestly I’d much rather with me with ten in the door then one good one there you know cuz it really hurts and you know when you get one of those stare and I couldn’t describe it meth it’s the worst feeling in the world when you can’t breathing we’ve got a gum shield in your mouth you try to spit the gum frielobe with the corn because you can’t get your breath to get the power of your lungs to spit it out you’ve gone red you start to see that the stores then he gone low and lower and lower on the ground it’s horrible it’s horrible eventually Hans will drop and then BOOM yeah goodnight you know in a minute and if I wanted a knock you out and I’m looking for the chain about here right then brought the fourteen-point how are you you mentioned being punch drunk earlier do you think you could have like a wake-up call at all and I’ve had some grenades all over the box and with a better if I wasn’t sober and I was I could tell you that Molly like she worried it might affect your memories of your family those kind of important moments but if probably Hajin I mean chronology that my dad died grammar all every single second of us for current Mahmud otherwise they could get hit by a bushing on one of my memories at all so just a receiver at it azimuth so I the tattoos on me back you know the core is a craft lacrosse – I’m not going for me Dad in the fear younger we scare no one left when he was good with good first whatever happens happens there’s a lot more but effective than his old a and I want the balls to I don’t just talk about in our myself or a feel for the fade to them when I’ve ever gone I don’t think Leon I mean what I realize just how big of a part of this is and relief you know it’s great when you can takes one’s best digs and you can give them your best and see who calls old better I’m spending time with James what I really began to understand was this idea of heart I think a lot of us for out as like a kind of just a cliche but actually looking at James and the way he conducts his life with this kind of very emotional attitude towards the death of his father and his relationship with his family and what he does is he managed his channel back and bring it into the ring he breaks every cliche I mean he’s not one of these guys he comes around Tony’s unbeaten record he knows he’s been beaten a few times and he literally takes it on the chin and accepts that and maybe he’s the perfect fighter because he’s fallible fighting I’m the Americans come over here across the Atlantic I mean it’s a big deal I don’t think I’d only lose that’s not even in my mindset you know an option to me you know I’ve been fighting my whole life I feel like on the more skilled fighter I’m the bigger fighter I don’t really give a damn it ain’t what it says because people always in have opinions people are always gonna doubt you none of that matters what matters is what happens in that table that’s meaning me and James I’m very ready to go it was the bare-knuckle extravaganza down in South London the US vs. UK transatlantic showdown the biggest bare-knuckle fight in recent history [Applause] [Music] [Applause] but before the title fight we were treated to a few other tear ups in the build-up to the main event it was a festival of physical abuse blood ducks glory I wanna see people going for it [Music] there no call it is the ultimate sport the Ultimate Aero just enjoy seeing getting it you know real punches and no around you know I mean [Music] is now old fog or and tonight they really go for violets and put it back [Music] [Applause] [Music] it’s big motion army it’s one of the best parts about rajin I was up there was said to me England is the home of bare-knuckle I think the British is in the blood [Applause] where are they and I mean what the master the world is the machine-gun young fighting for the land heavyweight title against UK champ James just won the quarry and I’m really kick his ass Jason was everything you’d expect an American fighter to be brash verbose a massively patriotic he’d even referred to himself as the bald eagle and a few occasions unfortunately today’s binnacle boxers they’re mostly just boxers I bring a different style for me it’s natural I tune everything else out the crowd the noise the cameras everything and just focus on my opponent just in the zone I’m the first American to come over here since 1863 and fight for the title soon there’s much more pressure on him because I’m the unknown I’m coming for the United States we have a huge advantage it was ten o’clock the scheduled time for the fight but James was still nowhere to be seen rumors that he was refusing to come down were spreading throughout the crowd some said he was in a cab on his way from New Castle others said he bottled it this didn’t sound like the James I knew but time was ticking on and the success of the night depended on his appearance Jason who’d been in training for weeks had become increasingly agitated well I don’t know what happened he got stuck up in Newcastle I mean we’ve known about this fight for a very long time I came all the way from America if I was back in America I have a hundred friends who have come get me immediately and bring my ass down here so I basically just told him you know get down here seems like there’s a lot of excuses with today’s fighters back in the day somebody call somebody out and you know if you’re gonna be disrespectful you got to back it up people were beginning to lose hope and headed towards the exit it was looking likely their history wouldn’t be made tonight and suddenly like the Angel of the North heroes James McCrory a few stones heavier a few inches to his beard and wearing a Newcastle football shirt had arrived looking slightly bleary-eyed he had fallen asleep for the entire cab journey but was he too tired too full of Guinness to take on the machine gun [Applause] after weeks of build-up training mind games and the threat of one of them not even turning up the Atlantic title quite was about to start we were here on the edge of history America versus the UK of toe-to-toe bare-knuckle [Music] [Applause] as the machine guns best hammer down on the struggling gypsy boy it seemed that the title might be heading across the Atlantic the McCrory had other ideas [Music] [Applause] [Applause] and he done it James McQuarrie have made sure that Britain have won the bare-knuckle bragging rights and young in his entourage were on their way back to Utah with their tails between their legs [Applause] his victory marked a step into the big time not just for Andy top lifts company but for bare-knuckle of the sport and perhaps it had moved closer to everyone’s dreamed of it becoming the biggest nastiest and most exciting bloodsport in the UK [Music] you

100 Replies to “Underground Bare Knuckle Boxing in the UK

  1. "While my own personal experiences of fighting or fairly pathetic" lol.
    Honest journalism right there :).

  2. Russian football fans: I wanna beat up some westerners.

    Bare knuckle boxer: Im about to end this mans whole career.

  3. VICE today is just a fragment of what it used to be when they put out content like this. Today its just SJW clickbait.

  4. Finally a Vice reporter who isn't a condescending hipster laughing at people and one who is actually interested and even in his reporting.

  5. This is the true English hard man its a dying breed the country is full of immigrant that don't speak English and are taking over what a shame England you lost the fight.

  6. So, if two people in a bar or on the street start to fight and throwing fists, is that considered a bare knuckle boxing match???
    Why is this praised???
    There is no fucking difference at all. Lmfaoooo.
    You tough boys make me laugh.

  7. I would rather watch this then boxing or UFC. This is real fighting, Bar room style. The kind of I fighting I grew up with.

  8. This is what proper men look like, proper fighting, one on one, no weapons, and all round respect for the opponent

  9. This sort of thing will just die out in time,and mashing someone's face isent a sport, the same as dog fighting isent a sport.

  10. 20 mins de reportage bidon ou l'on entend que des bêtises pour 7 mins de combat…Bravo pour le foutage de gueule.

  11. Bare knuckle means wearing nothing on the knuckles. Just like bareback sex means wearing nothing on the organ. This video is misleading.

  12. This is the dumbest eco chamber of a documentary ever lol. You think bare knuckle boxing aka just “fighting” originated in the UK? Considering that shits been done since the Neanderthals, it’s funny as hell that you try to accredit your own people with the “invention” of fighting lmao “but we call it bare knuckle boxing & we came up with it! It’s our heritage!”… I used to think British people were smart lol

  13. a bunch of idiots.In the mean time the emigrants are taking over UK.The arabians and indians are fucking your women you dumb fucks while you fight each other.

  14. Boxing didn't come from "English bare-knuckle" fighting but from the Olimpic Games in Ancient Greece 2500 years ago.

  15. Lol they've been doing bare-knuckle fighting for centuries in Burma. In fact, the traditional lethwei (kickboxing) is still bare-knuckle, and includes headbutts.
    As interesting and insightful as this is, bare-knuckle fighting isn't exclusive to Britain. There are many cultures or countries that still do this.

  16. Much respect for mr happy , what a lovely fella , takes a real man to admit that he felt scared his motivation for fighting , the inner struggles are the hardest to overcome .??

  17. "bare knuckle fighting originates from the UK" – what kind of bullshit is that?! Bare knuckle fighting certainly originates in Africa, together with the physiology of the species homo sapiens…

  18. I take nothing from these guys being able to have a tear up – but come on – how many seconds would they have lasted against Lenny or Roy – the real masters / mad men of this.

  19. A white man refused to fight a black man in front of Vice News for fear that Vice News will accuse him of being a racist if he hit the black guy

  20. "One day some poor bastard is going to randomly pick a fight with Mr Happy and end up in a coma." dude, i was laughing alone like an idiot @SEE YAI AYE

  21. ZFucking brilliant!!!!
    Turns up late, half asleep and half pissed and still smashes the big mouth yank up!!!! Ha, made my day!!!

  22. Really interesting doc, gets to the meaning of the thing. Some people climb mountains, some people run marathons–all to challenge themselves, etc. These guys fight. And he's right about it being a thoroughly English sport. Even Conan Doyle wrote that Sherlock Holmes was a member of a boxing club in London. Boxing/bare-knuckle are part of the culture. I have a friend from the USA who was sent to boys school in Britain in the 1960s. All the boys in the school–ALL THE BOYS–had to learn boxing. It was part of their physical education programme along with Cricket and Football.

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