Horsham boxer's bare-knuckle debut ends in dramatic loss

Horsham’s Ben Gumbrell experienced a baptism of fire to bare-knuckle boxing last Saturday. In a bout which many thought he won, the ‘Gladiator’ dropped his opponent to the canvas but narrowly lost on points.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 6:00 pm
Ben Gumbrell (left) made his bare-knuckle boxing debut against Scotsman Tony Lafferty. All pictures courtesy of Brooklyn Freeman

The captivating bout was the quarter-final of Bare Knuckle Boxing (BKB)’s eight-man tournament with a £10,000 cash prize for the winner.

Ben’s debut was in the sold-out Indigo room in the 02 London in front of over 3,000 fans.

His opponent was Tony Lafferty from Scotland, who had an impressive 3-1 record.

Action from Ben Gumbrell's maiden bare-knuckle boxing bout against Tony Lafferty

Gumbrell was unfazed however. He said: “I like being the underdog and proving people wrong.”

With extraordinary composure, Gumbrell used his feet to nullify his opponent’s aggression. But the Scot landed a punch, leaving Ben with a cut close to his eyes. Two judges sided with Lafferty and the other with Gumbrell.

Gumbrell said: “Through the fight, I couldn’t see out of my left eye, caused by a headbutt in the first round.”

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Gumbrell rocked his opponent with a clean left to the chin in the second.

Though his vision was obscured, Gumbrell didn’t falter. Still, two judges awarded the round to the Scotsman and the third called a draw.

Going into the final round, he knew he needed the knockout to win. In the closing seconds of the round, the Tiger pounced straight onto a 1-2 from Gumbrell. Down went Lafferty. The knockdown had scored Gumbrell a vital extra point.

After three rounds, the judges could not announce a winner. BKB co-owner Jim Freeman then called for an unprecedented bonus round decider. Despite a punctured lung and a broken rib suffered in training four weeks earlier, Gumbrell gave a valiant effort.

Action from Ben Gumbrell's maiden bare-knuckle boxing bout against Tony Lafferty

Sadly, it wasn’t enough. Gumbrell added: “It never needed to go the extra round, I had done enough already.

“I felt I won every round and pushed the whole fight.”