Updated: Apr 11, 2019
BELFAST, NEW YORK – The Boxing World and the Police Gazette 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 Police Gazette Bare Knuckle Boxing WORLD and AMERICAN Champions, the oldest, most historic bare knuckle honor in America. On the steps of his iconic Hall of Fame where the Great John L. Sullivan trained in 1889, Burt did just that in recognizing Bobby Gunn. “As the Hall of Fame President, appointed Caretaker of America's Most Historic, Most Sought-After Belts of all time, the Police Gazette Diamond WORLD and AMERICAN Belts, I am proud that in the several conversations I had with the late great boxing historia Bert Sugar who guided me on the Hall of Fame project, he stated that with this belt I make the unique connection between John L. Sullivan and the current champions of today that no one else can. He stated the obvious; since I am the only person in the World in charge of the Police Gazette belt, the last being Richard K. Fox of over 100 years ago, I am obviously the only person who can bestow it. By doing so I complete the connection between John L. Sullivan and today's bare knuckle world. Thus, I am honored to declare Bobby Gunn as the current and therefore next linear Heavyweight Police Gazette Champion of the World.”
In doing so, Burt filled a more than 125 year void. “Although I am aware that Gunn has an undefeated underground bare knuckle record of 71 straight wins, in today’s society I 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 Police Gazette WORLD Diamond Belt Champion and be presented with our beautiful historic belt.
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 16 minute, 75 round slugfest in Mississippi that Sports Illustrated has since called “The Brawl that Started It All”. In 2014, just as Fox did in 1889, Scott R. Burt recognized Bobby Gunn as the reigning Modern Day Bare Knuckle Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the WORLD.
In August of 2018, Burt presented the 125 lb division Diamond World belt to Austraila's Bec Rawlings as a result of her win over Britain Hart. This was the first time in since 1889 that the Police Gazette Diamond WORLD Belt was ringside. In October of this year, Arnold Adams defeated Sam Shewmaker, for the AMERICAN title. This was the first time since 1882 that the AMERICAN belt was ringside! To no surprise, it was John L. Sullivan who was not only the last one to hold 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 away 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.
Interestingly, John L's, Bec's, and AJ's fights all occurred in Mississippi. Another 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!" I believe our three Champions can do the same. What a GREAT trio of representatives he have here folks. The Police Gazette is proud to boast of our three Champions; no organization could even hope to have such classy fighters wearing their belts than ours.