BELFAST, NEW YORK – The boxing world has positioned
Scott R. Burt, President of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in Belfast, New York, as the only man who can legitimately
recognize the next Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion of the WORLD, and on the steps of his iconic Hall of Fame where the Great
John L. Sullivan trained in 1889, Burt did just that. In 2014, he presented his coveted World BKB Championship belt
to Bobby Gunn. “As the Hall of Fame President, and owner and preservationist of the historic barns that Sullivan
trained in, it has been made clear to me through the urging of boxing authorities such as the late Bert Sugar that from a
historical point of view I am the only one in the WORLD who can make the legitimate connection between the last Bare Knuckle
WORLD title holder, John L. Sullivan, and the current champ, 71-0 Bobby Gunn” stated Burt. “I am honored
to do so, and do not take this responsibility lightly.”
In doing so, Burt fills a more than 125 year void. “Although I am told that
Gunn has an undefeated underground bare knuckle record of 71 straight wins, in today’s society I cannot and will not
recognize any illegal activity, even though Sullivan’s fights were. But on August 5, 2011, Gunn fought a legal
and sanctioned bare knuckle fight in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he defeated Richard Stewart by knockout in three rounds.
For that achievement he will be named our WORLD Champion and be presented with our beautiful Hall of Fame belt. It is
a wonderful belt that connects the two champions. It can only be passed in a legally sanctioned fight. By putting
this stipulation on it, it will force all the bareknucklers out there to work together for a common goal. The belt has
an elevated gold eagle just like Sullivan’s 1889 belt, a large centered medallion of Sullivan and the BKBHOF logo, and
is constructed of on a vintage-looking green and white silk on gold to represent Sullivan’s; Gunn’s; and the people
of Belfast, New York’s Irish heritage” stated Burt. Sullivan’s belt was presented by Richard K. Fox,
publisher of the National Police Gazette, and inventor of the Championship belt. It carried Fox’s name.
In the same form, the belt presented to Gunn carrys Burt’s name.
In 1889 Richard K. Fox, Publisher
of the National Police Gazette, acknowledged the Great John L. Sullivan as WORLD Heavyweight Bare Knuckle Boxing Champion
after he defeated Jake Kilrain in a 2 hour 15 minute, 75 round slugfest that Sports Illustrated has since called “The
Brawl that Started It All”. In 2014, just as Fox did in 1889, Historian Scott R. Burt, President and founder of
the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in Belfast, New York, recognized Bobby Gunn as the reigning Modern Day Bare Knuckle Heavyweight
Boxing Champion of the WORLD.
This year, specifically
on July 9, 2016, Burt will declare the first AMERICAN title holder since 1882 in much the same way. To no surprise,
it was John L. Sullivan who was not only the last one to holder the WORLD title, he was also the last one to hold the AMERICAN
title; a title stripped of him by Richard K. Fox when he first refused to fight Jake Kilrain in 1887. Fox not only took
the AMERICAN title way from Sullivan, but unilaterally gave it to Kilrain and elevated it to WORLD Champion instead of AMERICAN.
As we all know, Sullivan re-claimed the WORLD title once and for all by beating Kilrain in 1889; neither Sullivan nor
his supporters ever acknowledged Fox's stripping. This summer Burt will recognized undefeated 44-0 Danny Batchelder
as the first AMERICAN Championship title holder since Sullivan held it in 1882. The gorgeous belt is similar to Gunn's
and Sullivan's WORLD belts, but sports a red, white, and blue silk belt and different side ornamentation. An interesting
note....in 1882 when Sullivan won the AMERICAN title in 9 rounds over Paddy Ryan, he famously stated many times over "I
can lick any man in the house!" After beating Kilrain in 75 rounds in 1889 for the WORLD title his statement changed
to "I can lick any S.O.B. in the World!"