THE FAST GROWING SPORT OF BARE KNUCKLE BOXING
We meet with Mike Goslett and Jason Phaal to find out all about the activity that’s closely related to ancient combat sports.
Bare knuckle boxing can be traced as far back as 1719. Essentially, as its name suggests, the sport involves boxing without gloves, and is managed by strict rules. Although the sport is still small, it is growing in popularity in South Africa.
We visit Mike Goslett, the owner of Beast BKF Promotions & CEO of Ragnarok BKF SA, to discover more. He shares that bare knuckle fighting started with men wanting to see who was the strongest and is today blowing up as a mainstream sport.
Unlike gloved boxing, bare knuckle fights take place in a circular ring or a smaller square. Bare knuckle fights are two minutes per round and each bout will be 5 rounds in length. The fighters begin in the middle with the referee signalling them to knuckle up – indicating the start of the bout.
In the ring fighters may wrap and tape the wrist, thumb, and mid-hand but no protection can be within one inch of the knuckles. Being physically and mentally ready to fight is crucial so disciplined physical training is essential to perform at the high intensity needed for the sport.
We follow Jason Phaal, a South African amateur heavyweight boxing champion and aspiring bare knuckle fighter, for more insight into the preparation that goes into getting fighting fit for this unique sport.
Jason started fighting from the age of 18 to get fit, lose weight and release tension and eventually fell in love with the sport. More recently, with the help of coaches like Mike and former SA MMA number 1 heavyweight champion and 1st-degree black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, Rico Hattingh, he’s adapted his skills for his new sport.
He also spends as much time sparring with fellow bare knuckle fighting enthusiasts like EFC fighters Mark “Batolo Bacharge’ Kamba and Didier ‘Iron Man’ Nyembwe to learn more about their technique.
We think Jason Phaal’s diligence, support and passion for bare knuckle boxing has equipped him well to succeed in bare knuckle fighting.
Q&A WITH MIKE
How are you aspiring to live better?
“Eating healthy, exercising and living a balanced work and personal life.”
What legacy would you like to leave behind?
“Respect all, work hard, love hard, play hard. I also want to leave a legacy that my children can be proud of, and that will live on long after I am gone.”
What 2 valuable lessons / pieces of advice would you like to share with South Africa?
“If you fail, don’t be discouraged, it’s a lesson, come back stronger the next time around,” and “Take risks and eventually the rewards will come your way.”
Where do you go to escape and connect with yourself?
“The gym, where I can pit myself against myself.”
Do you have an encouraging quote for us, to end off on?
“No one is ever too young to start an empire or ever too old to chase a dream.”
Are there any last comments / thoughts you’d like to add?
“Thank you to everyone for believing in me and to my partners from Ragnarok International for trusting me to promote the best Bareknuckle Fighting Promotion in the world.”