‘Big’ Joe Egan says bareknuckle boxing is the future – and you don’t want to argue with him.
The fearsome Mike Tyson referred to Egan as “the toughest white man on the planet” after sparring countless rounds with the Irishman.
Egan says the toughest of the tough guys are found in the bareknuckle boxing ring.
He will be at the big show at the O2 Indigo on Saturday, November 17 when pound-for-pound king Jimmy Sweeney defends his world lightweight title against Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher and says he’s full of admiration for the fighters who will be going toe to toe.
“To box and kickbox takes courage,” he said, “but to be a bareknuckle boxer takes a different kind of courage. This is beyond courage. It’s madness really.
“These really are the toughest of the tough guys.
“I used to box with 16 ozs and 10 ozs gloves on and these guys are just wearing bandages. The punches are bone crunching.
“These guys really are gladiators and in bareknuckle boxing, you only get 50-50 fights, the best fighting the best.
“That’s how boxing used to be before the politics got involved and people wanted to protect fighters who make them money.
“Boxing lost a few fans – including me – because of that.
“I used to go to shows all over the country every week and every show it would be ticket sellers beating up the same Eastern Europeans.
“Because of that, people got into MMA, but now their big names are avoiding each other and anyway, UFC is only any good when they stand and trade. When they grapple on the floor it’s like watching paint dry and you don’t get that in bareknuckle boxing. It’s all stand up trading punches and you can’t blink when you watch. It’s exciting.
“Bareknuckle boxing is taking over. The audiences are growing and now television are on board it’s going to grow even bigger.”
Egan hopes Tyson will come along to a show in the future.
“Mike would love it,” he said, “but I can’t imagine what he would be like as a bareknuckle boxer. The impact and pain was bad enough when he wore gloves !”