Ex-British champ Matty Askin admits swift weight gain led to bare knuckle boxing decision

RINGSIDE 24/06/2019

📸: Lawrence Lustig

Matty Askin is the latest former British champion to make the switch to bareknuckle boxing.

Askin decided he was finished with boxing after controversially losing his British cruiserweight title to Lawrence Okolie last September.

But the 30 year old from Blackpool says a game of football with his four-year-old son convinced him he needed to get back in the gym – and he’s decided his future is in bareknuckle boxing.

Askin fights American veteran Danny Batchelder at the O2 Indigo on Saturday, September 14 on BKB 18, a show that also features ex-British super-lightweight champion Curtis Woodhouse and Jack Arnfield.

Askin said: “I was on holiday with my four-year-old son Lincoln, we were running around the beach and after a few minutes I was blowing out of my arse.

“I’m fat.

“I’ve gone up to 17 ½ stones by drinking and eating what I want – and not training. The weight went on faster than I thought it would.

“I thought: ‘I need to get my drive back’ and the best way to do that is by knowing someone wants to stand in front of me and try to smash my face in.

“They are tough men in bareknuckle boxing and knowing that will make me get back in shape.

“I thought: ‘I won’t miss boxing,’ but when I got back in the gym I got the bug back.

“One of my friends (Arnfield) has just signed up to BKB, he put me in contact with (bosses) Jim (Freeman) and Joe (Brown) and I was impressed by how straight they were.

“There’s no politics. They just want to make good fights and build the business up.”

Askin admits he’s glad his boxing career is over after the Okolie fight.

“He just grabbed and ran off,” he said, “and the referee let him get away with it. He should have been thrown out.

“I wasn’t that upset after the fight. I just thought: ‘I’m finished’ and I’ve been happier ever since I made that decision.

“Bareknuckle boxing has given me a bit of drive and I want to achieve things.

“I believe this is perfect for me.

“I’m a tough lad, can punch and have a row. I won’t back down from a fight. Jim and Joe gave me a list of potential opponents for September and I said: ‘I don’t care, I will fight anyone.’”


Freeman and Brown came up with Batchelder, who fought James Toney during his pro gloved career.

“I haven’t looked him up yet,” said Askin. “To me, a fight is a fight. I’m going to get myself in shape and go in there and have a row.”