Blackrod bare knuckle boxer wants to reverse the sport’s aggressive stereotype

Bare Knuckle Boxing is very much what it says on the tin, writes Ryley Gretton.

It involves two opponents and a small ring, and unlike its namesake, it does away with gloves in favour of boxing style hand-wrapping.

Many have labelled the sport as brutal, unforgiving, even savage.

Despite being unregulated by any governing body, however, it is very much legal in the United Kingdom and many other countries.

Bare knuckle boxer Nathaniel Higson, based in Blackrod, acknowledges the ruthless nature of the sport, but says it isn’t as vicious as people think.

Bare knuckle boxer Nathaniel ‘Hurricane’ Higson takes a picture with his wife Megan after winning fight. Credit: Nathaniel Higson

“I think the sport is growing because when people actually watch it they see how disciplined it is, it’s the perfect combination of being ruthless yet rewarding,” said Higson.

“The whole community of fans, fighters and everybody involved is really just so respectful to one another.

 “You don’t see that as much in traditional boxing because in my eyes there’s so many egos in that sport, they get in the way of what really matters.

“Regardless of say a hard-fought win, a very fine loss through a decision, and in spite of how vicious it’s perceived to be, there’s so much mutual respect that for me is absent from the likes of boxing today.”

The sport has so much of a worldwide appeal in fact that the US based Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, was recently the subject of a buyout by Triller.

The combat sports platform rose to prominence by hosting the 2020 bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

“An organisation like Triller buying BKFC is definitely significant, and it does bring more eyes to the sport which is great, but I have reservations,” added Higson.

“I wouldn’t want to see the likes of YouTube stars or celebrities simply dipping their toes in like we’ve seen recently in boxing.

“Of course, the sport is welcoming to everyone, but I and many others don’t want to see it become a circus show, you have to earn your way.”

Higson, 30, recently made a winning debut in the sport having previously trained in Mixed Martial Arts.

Two potential opponents dropped out before the fight had even began, but in spite of this, he described the experience as strange but worthwhile.

“Having come from an MMA background, fighting in a caged octagon, to fighting in a tent in a hay-bale ring, it was definitely weird,” stated Higson.

“The experience was obviously quite odd, but for me it was so worthwhile as well.

“It was all about proving to myself and others that I really could do it, everyone has doubters so to shut them up was great of course.

“If someone like me can step in there and do it then anyone can, making my family proud by winning just made it all the sweeter.”