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Bareknuckle prize fighter: Danny's story

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The move from the institutionalised certainty of school into the increasingly uncertain world of work has become a problematic one for many young people in Bauman’s world of liquid modernity.  This is heightened for those working-class kids who are largely denied the traditional routes into adulthood of preceding generations. It is even more acute in a post-industrial northern English town struggling to reinvent itself in the face of over three decades of industrial decay. Like almost all young adults in their late teens and early twenties, Danny, at 19, remained living with his parents in their home on a former council estate.  The estate had been constructed on the fringes of the town in the 1950s in order to provide new housing for those dwelling in cramped and bomb-damaged conditions in the inner city.  It also provided employment for the wartime heroes who returned from the battlefield to the austere Britain of the late 1940's and '50s.

“'Flexibility' is the slogan of the day, and when applied to the labour market it augurs an end to the 'job as we know it', announcing instead the advent of work on short-term contracts, rolling contracts or no contracts, positions with no in-built security but with the 'until further notice' clause. Working life is saturated with uncertainty. (Bauman 2000: 147)

IN THE BEGINNING

At first, Danny felt like one of the lucky ones.  Having completed a work experience placement with a local tradesman, he was offered an apprenticeship upon leaving school. This saw him instantly employed, learning a trade on the job and attending college on day release.  However, the college course was proving tough.  Concerned that he would fail a key part of the course, Danny relayed his concerns to his boss.  He was somewhat taken aback when his boss immediately said that they should go their separate ways.  

That was literally the same day, and I thought bloody hell, I thought he might have given me a bit of leeway.

At a low point, facing up to a lack of funds and a need to be doing something during the long days, Danny and a fellow unemployed friend - his gym buddy - made the decision to change their gym of choice.

He says ‘why don’t we join, instead of this crap, this rubbish gym, go and join a boxing gym... something to do, let off some steam, and you know it’s cheaper, two quid a session, three quid a session’. I thought, well fair enough... we just joined because it was cheaper and there’s weights and free weights and everything that we’re doing, but you can get it for three quid not thirty quid. 

IN THE GYM

“Edgework represents a sometimes spontaneous search for a dramatic self within a world of alienation [...]. Being on the edge, or over it - beyond reason and in passion - is momentarily to grasp a spiritual and romantic utopia.” (Collison 1996: 435) 

Boxing gymIt turned out that passing time and blowing off steam in a well-known local boxing gym had incidental advantages, for it served as an informal labour exchange of sorts.  Before too long, Danny was gainfully employed once again. A fellow gym user asked both Danny and his gym buddy to join him working on the scaffolding of industrial buildings.This was tough work, involving being away from home Monday to Friday, earning around two hundred pounds per week, but Danny was not in a position to say no. 

While working in another grim, post-industrial northern town, the scaffolder enquired as to Danny’s boxing experience, and introduced him to the concept of ‘gradings’.  Gradings are bouts with fellow members of the gym that take place to ascertain the standard of each fighter.  This then allows fair fights to be arranged with members of other gyms.  Accompanied by his gym buddy, Danny went to take a look at how they worked. 

So...we went down, and to be fair I was nervous.  I were thinking, bloody hell, I’m not used to these sort of places like, you know what I mean, watching kids belt ten bells out of each other. It sounds weird but... seeing a kid who wins, and he’s buzzing, and you think, I wonder what that feels like, you know, and I just thought, I wouldn’t mind having a go. 

Well, my first one was shocking, I didn’t know what I was doing, windmilling about... just not boxing at all.  He’s saying... ‘move your feet’, and I’m thinking [the] last thing I want to do is listen to anybody, I’ll look after myself and that’s that! I got through it, and to be fair, he says it weren’t pretty but you got through it, and you won it like.  I was still shaking and allsorts after, I weren’t really listening to what he was saying. But, as time went on, I started getting into it a little bit more, and me mate did and all.  He had five or six, he might have two a week, you know.  I know in one week he had two at least, and he won em both and he was getting a real buzz for it.

Danny’s gym buddy was especially keen to take things further. In conversation with the scaffolder, he discussed his desire to fight without headgear.  However, as amateurs this was not possible. Unless, the scaffolder told them, they went ‘unlicensed’.  Such a bout would bring a financial reward too, and this made it an attractive prospect for Danny who was beginning to struggle under mounting pressures.  The money from his new job was not going very far. His parents needed their board money, and his dad was paying his 'phone bill. His friends were in the process of arranging a holiday. But the loss of the stability that his previous employment had once provided was also playing on his mind. 

I was a quiet kid doing me apprenticeship, getting through things... then I changed in the space of half a year to somebody who was a totally different person. I didn’t notice it at the time. Mi mum used to say to me, ‘what’s up with you, why are you so aggressive?’.  They’d ask me ‘how’s your day been’ and I’d snap at em and say ‘what’s with all the questions?’.  [The] last thing you wanna do is talk about it. And it was easier to not say anything, grab mi bag full of gloves and boots and just go boxing and let off some steam.  I just thought to meself, in the end, sod it, I’ll have a go with it.

The process of getting to the bare-knuckle bout was surprisingly simple.  The scaffolder looked after all the arrangements, though it was not completely clear just what his links to the scene were.  

I never asked, because he was one of them where... you felt like if you asked him something that he didn’t want to answer, you felt really uncomfortable.  I thought he was deep into it because, they [other gym members] always used to nod their head to him, but they never used to speak to him. There were a couple of older blokes, middle 30s, something like that, and they’d come over and they’d talk, in t’lockers like, but they’d stop talking when you came in. They’d walk out so it didn’t look suspicious, but it were too suspicious. You knew something was going on.  

BoxersDanny’s bout was scheduled for a Tuesday night.  As he was working away he didn’t need to tell his parents. If they questioned where the money had come from on his return, he would simply tell them that he’d ‘had a good week’.  On the day of the bout nerves soon set in.  Danny couldn’t concentrate or eat, and he was sick twice before setting off from work with his gym buddy, who was also fighting, and the scaffolder, who was accompanying them. His pleas that he wanted to pull out were ignored, and they soon arrived at the venue, a large ‘estate pub’ in yet another grey northern town that had fallen on hard times.

There were cars outside... and there were people sat outside, drinking, with kids, and we were like, ‘this isn’t right’, do you know what I mean?

The lads were taken round the back of the pub and down into the cellar. 

It was massive. I’ve never been under a pub, so I thought ‘where are we going here?’  So I let them go first, and I’ll be honest I stood for a minute and I thought ‘shall I just leg it?’ [laughs]. Do you know like, what am I gonna do? Oh, I honestly felt like bursting into tears, I felt like I’ve made a right bollock here.  But anyway, I went downstairs... 

IN THE ‘RING’ 

“This was a life motivated by the individual’s perception of a constant struggle with hostile others in a dog-eat-dog world, a ‘war of all against all’ in a Hobbesian state of nature”. (Hall, Winlow and Ancrum 2008: 192)

The beer barrels and crates in the cellar had been arranged two high, into a ‘ring’ of sorts.  The floor was covered in sawdust, with spare bags stacked in the corner of the room.  There was around a couple of hundred people in the cellar, ‘screaming, shouting... bottles smashing against stuff’.  

I looked across and there were loads of kids, bald heads, one with an eye missing... they were horrible, honestly, horrible, horrible people, and I thought some of these are here just to hurt, to seriously hurt people. And there’s blokes with big, big gold chains on and bracelets, and big long coats. Yeah, you don’t think it’s real, you’re thinking somebody’s gonna start laughing or yell ‘cut’ in a minute or something like that, you know.

The scaffolder told Danny he would be on in about half an hour.  He went over to the table to find out who Danny’s opponent was. 

Anyway, he says you’re fighting him over there. I looked at him and I thought to be fair... if I could’ve picked one, it’d have been him. He saw me clock eyes.  It were a weird face he pulled but it was one of those... he basically thought it’s either you or me sort of thing, do you know what I mean? 

At this point it transpired that Danny’s gym buddy’s opponent had not turned up. Gym buddy still collected his money, however.  Meanwhile, the scaffolder had left the two lads to fend for themselves whilst he renewed acquaintance with various characters.

The kid who brought us just fucked off with everyone else, so it’s obvious he’s done it before because he were shaking people’s hands. I never really asked but I don’t know if it were for how many lads you bring you get a cut. But anyway it got to like 10 or 15 minutes before and he said ‘you’ve got to start getting ready’, so I got me bag, sat down in this horrible little corner, and this lad’s looking over who checks you.  I got t’ gloves out and he says ‘put them away’. So I says ‘what do you mean’, and he says ‘put your gloves away’, so I says ‘why?’.  And I’d not clicked on, I’d walked past fights and I’d not clicked on... it were only your wraps that you wore, you didn’t wear your gloves. So he says, ‘don’t get your boxing gear out otherwise they’ll know you can handle yourself... your money’ll go down, they’ll know [you have boxed before], or they might put you with somebody else and you might get a right beating’. 

Thus, Danny had to wear the trainers and tracksuit bottoms he had travelled in. 

The fight prior to Danny’s got stopped, the blood was swept up, the barrels moved aside, and in walked Danny.  The ‘referee’, ‘a bloke in a jacket’, requested that there be no biting, eye gouging or scratching, but anything else was apparently permissible. 

I asked a question.  I says ‘what about on t’floor’, and he just went ‘get on with it’. That was his reply.  

Then, after being spat on twice by somebody in the crowd, the time had come. 

When you hear him say ‘ fight on’, you just hear uproar, and to be fair I don’t know what he brought but there were a few on his side like, shouting, bawling. Anyway, nothing really happened for two, three minutes, a few punches got thrown, and then he hit me,  a decent shot, it bust me lip, I could feel it straight away, you know when you taste blood in your mouth. I thought to meself, I’m not having that, this is it, and I clinched him at first and I got hold of him, and everyone went ballistic. In boxing, you’re allowed to hold, you know, well you’re not allowed but you do, and I clinched him and I were uppercutting him and like obviously it’s wrong cause I were holding his head, but he never said owt about it so I were like, [to referee] ‘you never said owt about that’.  As I’m talking to him he’s come across and hit me again and he’s put me down, and he’s like knocked me down, good shot, on the blind side but he did me. My own fault. And he never come and did me on t’floor, so he’s counting, and I get up, I were virtually in tears, and [gym buddy’s] saying you can do him, you can do him, I’m thinking I can’t, I can’t do him.  

This kid, I don’t know who he were, just a bloke, dregs of his pint, threw it in [the opponent’s] face, a pint, like an inch of pint, so I’m thinking, is he on my side now or what, like what’s happening, you know. [The opponent] kicked off and went to him... barrels fell over, [everyone’s] pushed barrels back on, and he’s come over and he’s like, I’m just gonna have to take it out on you then. 

We were dancing about again, and I thought oh fuck it, and just waded straight in and you know, I’ve not thrown many punches clean, you know, in boxing, but when you hit somebody virtually bare-fisted and you’ve knocked em out, you know, it doesn’t even feel like you’ve hit em. And he’d gone, but I were that scared and that worried, I’d hit him about three times and he’s gone, and then I carried on, and his head were just bouncing off me fists.  And he’d gone to his knees, and I were smashing him in the back of t’head, front of t’head. My adrenalin then, you could’ve thrown anybody in and I’d have had a fight with anybody. Do you know what I mean, it got to the stage where I thought sod it... I know it sounds stupid, I don’t like fighting, but... when you’re there and you’re in it then your adrenalin is ridiculous.  He’d gone, he’d totally gone, and I had tears in my eyes, I were hitting him and in t’end [gym buddy] came over, he’s pulling me back. Ref had done nothing... until he’d laid down... he were leant, referee, with a whisky. Leant with a whisky! 

I wanted to pick him up, I tried picking him up.  I had murky white wraps on, and they were just full of claret, me arms were full of claret. And I was shaking, and I wanted to pick him up and help him... I couldn’t, he wouldn’t let me.  And then [the scaffolder] says... ‘you’ve done it, you’ve done it, you’ve won, you’ve won’. And I says, ‘I feel sick, get me stuff, can we go?’.  And he says ‘you can’t, you’ve got to wait till it’s over to get your money’. 

I went outside, I couldn’t stomach it. And all I wanted to do... I’ll be honest, phone me mum and dad, just to confess to what I’d done and cry me eyes out. Cos I couldn’t go home after, I had to go back to work. 

Eventually a man (‘he looked like, er, that darts player, Bobby George...medallions... big coat on’) emerged from the cellar with Danny’s money in an envelope. 

He says ‘well done, well done young un’. I shook his hand, I were shaking, and he says, ‘calm down, it’s over, it’s over’, he says ‘you never have to see us again if you don’t want’. 

Danny was paid £400 for the fight.  As planned, he told his mum it was a bonus from work when he returned home at the end of the week.  Danny enjoyed having the extra money for the short time it lasted, and he used it to put down a deposit on the holiday with his friends. 

Meanwhile, back at work, the scaffolder was engaged on other duties and so saw little of Danny and his gym buddy. He seemed less than keen to talk on the occasions when they were in each others’ company. Neither did he seem to be around the gym any more, at least when Danny was there.  Danny suspects that the scaffolder had bet on him to lose, and had suggested to others that they do the same.

[He seemed to] hang about... we never saw him get in t’ ring, you never saw him spar, you just saw him stand at t’ side... never bust a sweat.  So it were a meeting point.  And that stuff went off in a high-class gym. [After Danny's fight] he never went in t’ gym, and I honestly thought, and I still do to this day, that I cost him a bit of money that day.  It all comes down to my first grading when I went windmilling straight in, not a clue what I were doing... ‘Get him, see if I can get him to go’.  I don’t think he thought I were gonna win, therefore he might have lost some money, or lost somebody some money, do you know what I mean?  They’ll say ‘we’re sending two kids down who are not very good, probably get beat, put your money on this’.

Danny’s gym buddy, having missed out on the fighting, remained keen to find out just how it had felt.  Indeed, he was keener than Danny realised. He got a number from one of the two ‘older blokes’ that Danny had seen hanging round the gym with the scaffolder. Danny wasn’t really sure how it got arranged, but it did.  He also wasn’t really sure why he agreed to have another go, but he did.

His tour of the post-industrial North continued.  Escorted this time by one of the older blokes, they found themselves in another town, in the floodlit drizzle, in what appeared to be an abandoned tyre yard that was handily elevated above street level for discretion, with people sat on stacks of tyres throwing fireworks.

I never asked questions, I just got on with it and didn’t really want to speak to anybody. I thought once again, ‘why have I got myself into this, what am I doing?’.

And yet there was an excitement too, particularly about the prospect of going home with more cash in hand. However this was tempered somewhat when his gym buddy took ‘a hammering’, losing his two front teeth as the result of a head butt.  

This time Danny’s opponent was an Irish man, small and stocky, probably in his 40's. ‘[I] couldn’t understand a word... he just reeked of ale, stale beer, tattoos on t’neck, and I just thought, [sighs] you never would walk into a pub and pick a fight with him, or want to fight him.

Then, a stroke of luck. 

Bare-knuckle fight

 

It was my time so I goes in, and [the] same bloke who came out the first time, shook me hand and said ‘well done young un’[the Bobby George-esque figure], [was the] first bloke I saw as I walked in.  It were his event that last one, so I thought why does he come here, surely there’s territory or whatever.  I were like took aback... he were right at t’front, and he winked... he nodded his head like, and I did t’ same back, and he held his hand out, so as I’m walking round, stretching off, [I] just tagged his hand, and then fucking thirty-odd people were cheering, like ‘go on, fucking go on’, and I’ll be honest with you, it’s just made the hairs on my neck stand up again.  They were all fucking clapping me and thumbs up.  I don’t know what he did and then they’re all just cheering and sat on tyres and bouncing about, allsorts like.  I must’ve grown about a foot then, you know in my mind I thought I can’t lose, I’ve got people here now who want to see me and help me to do well, whereas you turn up to these places on your own and you think nobody likes me here, nobody’s bothered if I get seriously hurt.

With the older bloke who brought them to the fight nowhere to be seen, once again Danny’s question to the referee regarding the rules once somebody was on the floor was ignored; “didn’t answer me, just turned away, thought I’m never asking this again like, this question, [laughs]”.  With the fight about to start Danny caught sight of his badly beaten gym buddy, and was unable to stop himself from crying. “I just couldn’t hold t’ tears back... and then this Irish bloke’s like, he’s crying, I’ve got him, he’s crying, he’s crying”. And so it began again.  

Anyway, we’re ready to go, and he threw a piece of rubber, and as I’ve moved it he’s running to me and whacked me into t’ tyres, so he’s caning into me, but for some reason, I don’t know why and I don’t know the feeling, I’ve never had it ever since, but, it were a feeling of he couldn’t hurt me. Day after, fucking hell, he’d hurt me, but at that time, he were hitting me, I covered my face, he were hitting me in t’ ribs, he were kneeing me, and he were kneeing me in t’ legs... everything, couldn’t hurt me. 

I headbutted him. I thought, I can’t get out here, and he’s swinging, and he’s left his head and I thought I can get out here, and I headbutted him and I bust his nose, like, everywhere.  And that were it. I just went to town on him. I didn’t know it were rounds, so after two minutes they pulled me away and I thought what’s going off here.  Anyway, he went back, had a minute, cleaned himself up.  I come back out and I was sick, I was sick bang next to where I were stood. I was like, ‘you’re gonna have to hang on, we’ll go again, but just hang on like’. He said ‘I’m not hanging on’. Luckily the bloke who were ref, he come in, and he says, ‘look, you can hang on... about five minutes’. They were getting restless, they were, people were getting right mouthy, smashing bottles, everything, ‘what’s happening, what’s happening?’. 

Anyway, we came back together, and we went five two minute rounds.  It come down to t’ sixth. I were knackered, but I were young and I were fit at the time, he were bollocksed, and I mean proper, he were breathing like [sucks in air] and blood were coming out of his nose, and he were spitting out because he were like panting, and I’m thinking we’re just killing each other.  I had a cut eyebrow, my nose were bleeding.  That sixth round, it started drizzling, I were boiling, and it cooled me down, and I got me second wind. And then sixth, seventh and then eighth, it were done like, he couldn’t go on... I thought if he gets his second wind here, I’m halfway through mine!

Danny was handed only £400 after the fight, not the promised £600. 

So I went over and I says ‘four hundred? What do you mean four hundred?’ And he says ‘it’s four hundred, you can’t go off like that’, and I says ‘what do you mean’, he says ‘you made us look fucking stupid’, so I says ‘I made you look stupid?’, and I says ‘I were the one being sick’, and he says ‘if you want another two hundred you can fight for another two hundred’, I says ‘no you’re all right, keep your two hundred’. Anyway [the Bobby George-a-like], came over, shook my hand again, gave me two hundred pound in cash. He said ‘you entertained’, and I just thought, I’m done, I’m done, I’ve had enough of this.  

This feeling was immediately buttressed by the older woman who was cleaning people up after their fights- ‘she were nice, I don’t know what she were doing there’- who suggested to Danny that this wasn’t really for him. 

Whilst in the car waiting for the older bloke to return, the Bobby George-a-like came over. 

He says ‘you’re good kids, you don’t really belong here do you, it’s not your type of place’. We were like, ‘yeah well, if you get a buzz of it you get a buzz off it’. He says ‘I can tell you’re lying to me now.  You don’t get a buzz off it, you get an adrenalin rush’, and he said basically everything I felt through them fights, he knew.  He says ‘look you’re young kids, you don’t wanna be coming here getting your face tarted up like that’.  Shook his hand, never seen him since.  

I don’t think that night, without him actually nodding his head, sticking his hand out... you know a bit of respecting me, and seeing thirty odd lads cheering you... I think I would’ve either been seriously hurt or knocked out, because I were at a right low point.  And he were about six foot four, but to me, he looked about eight foot eight, he were just massive, and I thought I’m listening to him, I’ve got to listen to him.  He were talking sense, and he didn’t have to come over and do owt, he didn’t have to give me two hundred quid.  He’d heard what were going off, so obviously he’s gone away, sorted two hundred quid out, put it in elastic band and just said, ‘there’s two hundred quid there’, and he’s helped me out.

During the wait some of the other things that were occurring also became evident: 

The things you saw, you wouldn’t want to see, nightmares, but you looked outside and there were always kids getting a clip or a belt, or something like that, and we saw a kid get bundled into t’ back of t’ [a car].  I don’t know [who it was], but he got fucking pushed into t’ car, by a broom handle, like a snapped broom handle, and they just drove off, but they didn’t drive off, they sped off... and they didn’t need to speed off.

With both lads upset at being abandoned by the older bloke, nothing was said on an uncomfortable journey home as the two fighters nursed their wounds but consoled themselves with their cash.  ‘Never spoke to him. Never. He never spoke on t’ way home, never said a word on t’ way home’.  Indeed, this would be the last they ever saw of him. 

IN THE END...

“That older type of modern society once engaged its members primarily as producers and soldiers. [...] Consumers are first and foremost gatherers of sensations.” (Bauman 1999: 36)

The weekend after the fight gym buddy’s girlfriend told Danny’s girlfriend about the fights. She had presumably noticed the extensive damage to his face and asked what had been going on. This led to a row between Danny and his gym buddy. Danny’s mum was also becoming concerned about the state of Danny too. With the wise words of the Bobby George-a-like ringing in his ears, he decided to hand his notice in at work as he knew he would likely be continually asked to fight if he stayed. He also stopped going to the gym, and had no further contact with the scaffolder or the older bloke.  This effectively broke his connection with the scene, as throughout the entire episode, Danny had no contact whatsoever with anybody else regarding the fights, least of all those who actually ran the show.

Yeah, everything’s at arm’s length, so you don’t know what’s above, above, above, do you know? 

Danny did have to return to the gym on one last occasion in order to collect his boxing equipment that he had been storing there.  He found that his locker, along with his gym buddy’s, had been broken into and all his equipment stolen.

I just thought, I’ll stand to a hundred and fifty quid, I’m not gonna argue about it... I walked in the place and I just wanted to walk straight back out.

Danny subsequently told his immediate family of his experiences although ‘not so much in detail’; his dad, who he told more than the others, was ‘taken aback’ and asked ‘why didn’t you just speak to us and tell us?’ 

Shortly after he left the scaffolding job Danny got a call about a surfacing job.  This work took Danny around the world and marked a real turning point. Gym buddy worked briefly with him, but didn’t enjoy being away from home for extended periods and soon left, and the two drifted out of regular contact. When the surfacing work began to dry up Danny found work shopfitting and is now going steady.

 

And I’m as far away from it as I can be. Never got offered again, never got a phone call. I still go boxing and do a bit, but I box, I like training, don’t wanna fight. 

Bare-knuckle fighting is a traditional sport that in some respects has slipped under the radar in recent decades.  Its historic split from boxing, over the course of many years of evolution, saw boxing eventually gain legitimacy during the 20th century whilst bare-knuckle fighting retreated to the margins.  Yet it has never completely disappeared and as Danny’s story shows, it not only survives but thrives among a certain demographic.  It clearly also retains its links to the legitimate world of boxing as well as the criminal underworld.  However, even boxing itself is increasingly coming under scrutiny. The boxing historian Anderson (2007) suggests reforms of a fundamental nature are desirable, such as the banning of blows to the head. The British Medical Association has repeatedly called for a ban on both amateur and professional boxing, as well as ‘mixed martial arts’ competitions (British Medical Association 2007).  Concerns have also been raised about the so-called ‘white-collar boxing’ that has been in the news recently (Lowbridge 2014). Yet others, such as the All Party Parliamentary Group for Boxing (2015), point to the social benefits it can engender.  One wonders what these and other commentators on boxing would make of Danny’s experiences.

Fight Club front cover

 Despite the soul searching about boxing, there are signs that bare-knuckle fighting may be slowly creeping back into the mainstream, a move provoked at least in part by films such as Fight Club, released in 1999 and based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (1996). Various ‘sanctioning bodies’ are springing up, such as the World Bareknuckle Boxing Association (formed in the US in 2011), and are attempting to revive and legitimise the sport.  It is certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility that it could flourish in late modern conditions; if nothing else, such conditions bring forth a ready supply of insecurely employed edgeworkers from outside of bare knuckle’s usual constituency, who are already enthusiastically ‘gathering sensations’ in boxing gyms up and down the country.

As for Danny:

I don’t need it, don’t want to do it, I’ve seen sights that I don’t ever want to see again. You know I wouldn’t even want me worst enemy to do it because it’s just, it’s soul destroying at times.... there’s no need to ever go back that way. So, I’ll live and learn...

 REFERENCES

All Party Parliamentary Group for Boxing (2015) Boxing: The Right Hook (APPGFB/ funded by England Boxing)

Anderson, J. (2007) The Legality of Boxing: A Punch Drunk Love? Abingdon: Birkbeck Law Press.

Bauman, Z. (1999) ‘The self in a consumer society’, The Hedgehog Review, 1(1): 35-40.

Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

British Medical Association (2007) ‘Ban ultimate fighting as well as boxing, says BMA’, BMA press release, 5 September 2007. [available at : http://web2.bma.org.uk/pressrel.nsf/wall/825FD9E6B88D70308025734C003CAD9E?OpenDocument]

Collison, M. (1996) ‘In search of the high life: Drugs, crime, masculinities and consumption’, British Journal of Criminology, 36(3): 428-44.

Lowbridge, C. (2014) ‘What is white collar boxing?’ BBC News website, 24 June 2014 [available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-27996042]

Palahniuk, C (1996) Fight Club. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

David Moxon is an independent scholar and formerly Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University

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