Tyler Goodjohn has spelled out what’s wrong with pro gloved boxing – and why bareknuckle boxing is growing.
Goodjohn and Jimmy Sweeney square up in a bareknuckle super fight on Saturday, April 4 that will be watched by a sell-out crowd of 3,000 fans at London’s O2 Indigo and millions more in 29 countries around the world.
Goodjohn fought on big stages in his pro gloved career. After turning pro at 19, he fought on shows that featured Anthony Joshua and Kevin Mitchell and captured English honours.
The 28 year old has since ditched his gloves and is well placed to judge the two sports.
He says that in gloved boxing, popularity counts for more than ability – and fighters are punished for taking risks.
Goodjohn said: “One of the problems with pro boxing is, you don’t get rewarded for your bravery.
“I always wanted to test myself against the best. I had a 10 rounder in my eighth fight and took on Tyrone Nurse when he was 27-1 and everyone was avoiding him.
“If you take risks like that, there’s every chance you will lose and in pro boxing, promoters all want you to have a nice shiny zero because it looks good and helps sell tickets.
“You see guys who can sell tickets and are marketable and you know they will build an unbeaten record, get to the top – and then get beaten.
“Pro boxing is a bit of a façade.
“I love bareknuckle boxing because you get chucked into a big fight and if you lose, you have another big fight.
“You don’t have to work your way up again because you haven’t got your zero anymore.
“The good lads in gloved boxing are often the ones who have 12 wins and four defeats. That tells you they have won and lost against good lads.
“I don’t watch a lot of pro gloved boxing anymore because you don’t see many genuine 50-50 fights.
“You can say: ‘Some of the bareknuckle boxers aren’t that great technically,’ but they all get in the ring wanting to win. If they get knocked down, they get back up again.”