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

Ben Gumbrell (left) made his bare-knuckle boxing debut against Scotsman Tony Lafferty. All pictures courtesy of Brooklyn Freeman
Ben Gumbrell (left) made his bare-knuckle boxing debut against Scotsman Tony Lafferty. All pictures courtesy of Brooklyn Freeman

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Horsham boxer Ben Gumbrell

Horsham boxer Ben 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.

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

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

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.

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.”