Troubled Blackpool hotel to host controversial bare-knuckle boxing showdown

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The bare knuckle match will take place on August 28 and a documentary is being filmed

The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool

The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool (Image: LancsLive)

The Norbreck Castle Hotel is most recently notorious for its extensive TripAdvisor reviews, but next week the hotel will become the backdrop for an upcoming film about bare-knuckle boxing.

The sport is essentially boxing without gloves. With some rule changes from the gloved-up sport, it is in fact legal in the UK.

The sport is controversial though, as many believe it to be too dangerous. Most fighters end up bleeding from facial cuts and can suffer from severe facial swelling.

However, many defend the sport by pointing out that gloved boxing grew from the bare knuckle form. In the 1880s, John Douglas, Marquis of Queensbury developed a set of boxing rules that included gloves.

The BFBA, Bare Fist Boxing Association, has become the first licenced governing body for the spot and has held events in the O2 in London, the Echo Arena in Liverpool and now the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool.

The troubled Norbreck Castle Hotel has been in the spotlight recently, after guests cut their holiday four days short due to being woken every five minutes with groups of children said to have been “smashing things, knocking on doors and screaming” in the middle of the night.

However, the venue has now become the host of the bare knuckle fight between James McCrory and Kofi King, being held by one of the biggest bare knuckle promoters in the country – BFBA.

Bare Knuckle Boxing at the Norbreck Castle Hotel

Bare Knuckle Boxing at the Norbreck Castle Hotel

Cy Biggs, producer and screenwriter at Walk The Line Productions, is set to produce a film about James McCrory’s “emotional” journey through three heavyweight fights during his career, as he started following James’ career around five years ago.

Cy Biggs told LancsLive: “Bare knuckle boxing has always been legal, but its always been deemed as illegal by everyone that has approached it. When it first started out, it was always held in four hay bales because its a smaller surface area so fighters can engage in combat with no choice about it.

Cy said the combat sport is becoming very “big in the UK” and even though it looks “very blood thirsty” the fighters remain “respectful” making sure to shake hands after the fight.

He added: “The blood thirsty bit, maybe – but gangster? No.”

Known as the “Gypsy Boy”, James grew up in Ireland and Newcastle but has sadly suffered from “some life changing events” like addiction.

Having been in recovery for over two years, James shared social media posts that are said to prove to “help out a lot of other people struggling with various issues.”

The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool

The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool (Image: LancsLive)

James retired in 2018 after a sanctioned heavyweight world title belt win against Corey Williams. During his retirement he has helped to raise funds for various causes and support charity events.

Next Saturday, the “gypsy boy” will come out of retirement again to fight Kofi King.

Cy Biggs, producer and screenwriter at Walk The Line Productions, said: “The film represents and presents the story of his personal life, as it is mainly focused on his life struggles and not solely the fighting aspect of his BKB Career.”

He continued to say that he hoped the film will “communicate to people that change and help is only a conversation away”

James’ fight against Kofi King is being hosted by the Bare Fist Boxing Association whose long term goal is to follow a similar path to the UFC.

The ‘Toe The Line’ fight set to take place at the Norbreck Castle Hotel on the bank holiday weekend is officially sold out, but is available to watch live at 11pm via the BKTV app.