BRUTAL images reveal the wild world of bare-knuckle boxing, where fighters risk horrific injuries in front of cheering crowds.
The fearless thugs exchange blows in pictures taken during a competition at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Although described as having bare ankles, the fighters wear hand wraps to comply with the law.
From the side of the ring, family and friends can be seen cheering on the tattooed goons.
While relieved partners hug and kiss the winners and losers after the horrible fights.
The Sun headed to the legally licensed event, which headlined the third fight between Luke “The Loose Cannon” Atkin and “Disco” Dave Lowes.
The two Yorkshire men were at each other’s throats until Dave was sent to the canvas just seconds into the first round with an eye injury.
The crowd went wild as Luke defended his cruiserweight title and Dave shook his head in exasperation.
After his loss, Dave announced his retirement from the sport he loved.
He told The Sun: “That was my last time. I am now retiring to be the full time caregiver to my nine year old son Sebastian who has complex health issues. He needs me now.”
The event was organized by mother-of-three Amanda Smith.
Amanda told The Sun how important fighter safety was to the event.
She said: “We have paramedics and a ringside doctor. There is an ambulance on site in case a fighter needs to be taken to hospital.”
“A woman in the audience had a seizure that night and our medical team was on hand to treat the situation.”
Amanda said she felt her reputation as an organizer was at stake.
She added, “I can’t think of anything more important than the safety of everyone involved.”
“We test all fighters for illegal drugs before fights and do spot checks afterwards.”
Amanda said that as the only female promoter of bare-knuckle boxing in the country, she is trying to change public perceptions of the sport.
For many, Bare Knuckle was still rooted in the world made famous by the Guy Ritchie film Snatch, about a group of outlaw travelers who fall out with a London crime lord.
Amanda explained, “I know everyone thinks about hay bales, county fairs, and fights breaking out in the crowd. But that’s just not what this sport is about.”
“The fighting is safe and legal. We will not tolerate crowd interference or anger.”
“Our security team will expel troublemakers and then I will ban them for life.”
“Fortunately everyone who attends respects me and my husband Shaun who is the umpire that night.”
Although it is controversial due to the facial injuries associated with the sport, proponents of bare-knuckle boxing argue that an open fist causes less trauma than a boxing glove, which can “shake the brain.”
Amanda said many of the fighters benefited from the discipline and training regimen that comes with brutal sport.
She said: “The training program helps some fighters with their own personal problems.”
“Luke Atkin has had a difficult time this year and I think without bare knuckle boxing he would have been lost.”
Amanda, who has been promoting BKB events for eight years, said her shows are now like family home night.
She is sad: “The fighters, fans and employees of the BEC have now all met.”
Amanda’s next show is on January 27, 2024 at the Bowlers Exhibition Center in Manchester.