BILLY ‘Big Bang’ Hawthorn stunned onlookers at the Ryton Sports Connexion on Saturday (May 7) night when winning by second round knockout against former professional Jamie Hearn.
The Newcastle-based fighter, who remains undefeated in the bare-knuckle format, was knocked to the canvas in the first round by Hearn – though showed tremendous character to repay the compliment seconds in the second round.
Hawthorn then produced a quartet of left and right hand punches to win the fight as official Shaun Smith allowed the fight to continue no longer.
The 23-year-old’s victory was one of numerous stand-out moments from the night – middleweight champion Jimmy Sweeney defended his crown by first round knockout and Nathan Leeson went the distance with American fighter Eric Olsen.
Despite the sport’s brutal nature, various sanctions and the presence of a full medical team has won over world class professional fighters including former heavyweight champion of the world Frank Bruno.
Bruno announced earlier in the year that he wants to get back into boxing, though UBBAD media officer Stu Armstrong told The Observer he will not be fighting in bare-knuckle contests – contrary to national media reports.
Saturday marked the second bare-knuckle event Bruno has attended this year, and the organisation, safety and presentation of UBBAD promotions has appealed to the former champion who now wants to become an ambassador for the sport.
After the event, which attracted a huge 1,500 crowd, Stu Armstrong said: “It was the biggest ever bare knuckle show in the history of the sport and Coventry is the perfect location.
“Frank (Bruno) is a massive fan of our sport and has been particularly impressed by the safety measures we take to ensure the fighters in the ring are safe.
“The local people have really got behind the sport which is growing every week.
“We had some fantastic feedback and fans enjoyed the night in a safe and friendly environment for both fighters and fans.
“I’d like to thank Dillion Security for working with UBBAD and ensuring our fans and fighters were all in a safe environment.
“Our chief medical officer Mr Bill Ellis did a fine job and was on the case of every knockdown throughout the night – we can’t thank him enough for his support.”
Pic credit: Chris Bland.