‘Bare Knuckle Boxing’ is three words that, when strung together, strike fear into the heart of your average Daily Mail reader. However, speak them to a fight fan and they may just be intrigued. Last night a friend approached me and asked if I’d interview his mate who is fighting for a BKB title this weekend. After a 20 minute crawl down a YouTube hole I was hooked. It’s brutal, it’s bloody and it’s wrong on a whole bunch of levels, but damn did I enjoy researching it. So, with that, I present an interview with Dandan ‘The Hitman’ Hunter.
Hailing from Bradford, as a 10-year-old he was dragged to the gym by his body building mother. Dandy, however, opted for fisticuffs rather than pumping iron. Training under middleweight champion Frank Grant, the seed of boxing was planted. Some years passed, he joined the armed forces and started putting that practice in your action. 26 white collar fights later, with the majority being wins by KO, Dandan finds himself facing his hardest hitting and most ruthless opponent to date in Jimmy “The Celtic Warrior” McSweeney, an undefeated BKB fighter and the current UBBAD champion.
Straight to the point: why Bare Knuckle Boxing? Why not stick to the gloved kind?
So, bareknuckle boxing… I keep getting asked why over and over. My granddad was a bare knuckle fighter, he was known for being a very tough man. My dad was a professional boxer and I’ve followed the family trade. Gloved boxing doesn’t excite me as much anymore and I really just want to challenge myself and see what I can do without gloves, it’s as simple as that: just taking a step up in the game. And I know my granddad would be looking down on me, proud to see that I’m somewhat close to the man he was.
Having seen you demolish lads on the local circuit, would you consider this your first “step up” in competition?
Definitely a big step up for me. I think gloved boxing is something I’ll continue to do, but I’ll be spending more time on BKB from now. I want to make a name for myself in the BKB game
It’s very likely that the crowd will not be behind you, have you done any mental preparation for the negativity of the crowd?
I’ve fought up and down the country boxing on away shows. Getting bood and experiencing negativity from an away crowd that are behind the other fighter does nothing to me other than make me want to take the win even more. Extra motivation is always good, so let them boo!
Your opponent, Jimmy “The Celtic Warrior” Sweeney, is undefeated in BKB – how much do you know about him?
Not much is known about him other than the obvious: he holds a world title and he’s undefeated in BKB. Having watched his fights, he is a very good boxer and has a very unorthodox style which I can see could be very awkward to be in the ring with. However, he is just a man same as me and has a chin on his head like any other man. I respect him, as I do any opponent, but he is beatable. As I said, he’s only a man.
Should you win this weekend, you will have a very large target on your back. Win or lose, who do you want to fight next?
If I win on Saturday. I will have a queue of BKB lads wanting to get in the ring with me. This is my bare knuckle debut and I have the honour of it being against a champion like Jimmy Sweeney. A win for me would shock the BKB world. I don’t mind being the underdog, it makes me want it more. If I take the win I haven’t thought about who I would like to fight next to be honest, I take it one fight at a time. But any man that offers it? I won’t say no. Fear doesn’t live here.
Dandan Hunter vs. James McSweeney goes down at UBBAD presents BKB 2 this Saturday, November 5, at The Lancastrian Suite in Gateshead.