Steve Bunce on Boxing: Explosive Bobby Gunn ready to step out of the murky shadows and fight Roy Jones

 

The last time that Bobby Gunn retained his Bare-Knuckle Boxing title he was wearing jeans and easily handling Ernest "Mine's a Nine" Jackson inside a warehouse, watched by a tiny crowd of extras from Breaking Bad.

The fight ended with somebody screaming "police" and the desolate venue emptying with a professional rapidity acquired through a life of breaking laws, making meth and running scared. Jackson had arrived at the secret location in Philadelphia with a fearsome reputation as a former bodyguard of Jay Z and at 7ft 1in he was expected to be a handful; Gunn is a patient broker of bare-knuckle boxing and waited for Jackson's awful collapse.

"Bare-knuckle boxing is about not wasting punches, it's about accuracy," insists Gunn, who had his first bare-knuckle fight when he was 13 and claims to be unbeaten in more than 70 fights. "If you miss the jaw and hit the mouth your opponent's teeth can split your hands open."

The Jackson win was Gunn's first defence of the BKB title he won in August 2011 in a fight with Richard Stewart that attracted sales of nearly 900,000 on pay-per-view in America at a tenner a pop. The win over Stewart, which took place on a reservation in Arizona and was governed by Yavapai Nation laws, was the first sanctioned bare-knuckle fight for the world heavyweight title since John L Sullivan took 75 rounds, which was two hours and sixteen minutes, to stop Jake Kilrain in 1889.

There was a bit of momentum, but the Jackson mauling a few months later was not an attraction and Gunn returned to wearing gloves as a conventional boxer in April 2012.

In the kind of twist that makes covering boxing so easy, Gunn went and broke his hand in the fight and withdrew after four rounds against veteran and multi-weight world champion James Toney in a fight for an obscure belt; Toney, 45, has now fought 88 times in one of modern boxing's most amazing careers and will fight next week in London.

Gunn will return to boxing in December when he meets Roy Jones, a fighter often placed in the top 10 of all time, for the WBU's cruiserweight title in Philadelphia on 4 December. The WBU, by the way, started life above a florist in Bethnal Green just over 20 years ago when Jon Robinson decided he would start his own sanctioning body.

Jones, who beat Toney in 1994 in a massive fight, has been boxing too long and admits that he is only fighting Gunn because he needs a warm-up before stepping across the forbidden line and having some type of scrap with the UFC's Anderson Silva next year. The line has already been crossed once by Toney, who ventured into the Octagon, as the UFC's fighting pit is called, and was easily manhandled by genuine UFC legend Randy Couture, who looks as good as he sounds. Toney set the tone by arriving at the final press conference with a Couture action figure wearing a Barbie dress, but in the Octagon he was swept off his feet inside 30 seconds, never landed a punch and submitted to a choke hold after 3:19 of the opening round. It was not very nice to watch.

Meanwhile, a long, long way from the eccentricities achieved and planned by Gunn, Jones and Toney, a young heavyweight called Magomed Abdusalamov remains in an induced coma after losing his unbeaten record when he lost to Mike Perez inside Madison Square Garden's basement on Saturday night in New York. Perez is a Cuban defector who is based in Cork, is now unbeaten in 20 fights and looks like a man from a different planet to Gunn, Toney and Jones.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk