Bare knuckle boxing predates anyone who will be reading this article today. The sources of the brutal sport go back the 1700’s. The first ever bare knuckle boxing or ‘fisticuffs’ champion was a man by the name of James Figg.

Ireland is the country where bare knuckle boxing began though, and to present day they continue the sport as tradition. Quite often travellers, or ‘gypsies’ as some call themselves, will use a bare knuckle bout to settle differences.

James Quinn McDonagh is a modern bare knuckle boxing legend...
James Quinn McDonagh is a modern bare knuckle boxing legend…

James Quinn McDonagh

Aside from some states in the USA, bare knuckle fighting is no longer a sanctioned or recognized sport. The early 1900’s marked the last of the great bare knuckle boxing champions, but not in Ireland.

Today’s article focuses on the man known as ‘king of the travellers,’ James Quinn McDonagh. He went undefeated during his time as a bare knuckle boxer, and was part of one of the greatest fight documentaries ever made.


Life of a Fighter

Born in 1967 in Ireland, McDonagh fought as an amateur boxer in Ireland. Later using these skills as a bare knuckle boxer, his fight videos have become the stuff of legend. After a confrontation that led to a man’s death, McDonagh was embroiled in a feud that still rages today.

As a result he was part of some seriously brutal bare knuckle fights…

Continue to page 2 for the fight videos…

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