PRESS RELEASE January 2, 2013 (Contact: Scott Burt 585-610-3326)
Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2013 Announced
Belfast, New York – Scott Burt, Coordinator of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame announced today that the fifth Annual Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will take place Saturday, July 13 and Sunday July 14, 2013. This year’s 2013 Honorary Inductees, honored because they brought a positive spotlight to upstate New York during their career, and who will be in attendance are 1986 World Heavyweight Champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith, three-time 1950-60s World Junior Welterweight and Lightweight Champion Carlos Ortiz, and 1960-70s Light Heavyweight Contender Tommy Hicks out of Lockport, New York. Joining these three as Honorary Inductees will be early 1900s boxers Hite Peckham and George “Elbows” McFadden whose great grandsons will be in attendance to receive their awards. “It’s been a lot of hard work to restore and save these historic barns and turn them into the World’s only Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame,” stated Burt, “but the phone call I make to the inductees and in Hite and George’s situation, to their ancestors, is all worth it. The joy on the other end of the phone is wonderful to hear and makes all the work worthwhile. Saving a piece of history, promoting the town of Belfast, and honoring individuals for their accomplishments is unmatched in importance as far as I am concerned.”
There will be three Original Bare Knuckle Inductees this year. They will be Mike Cleary who actually fought the Great John L. Sullivan in Belfast in 1889, died and was buried there; Bob Fitzsimmons who was the first to win World Championship titles in three different weight classes, and Australia’s Peter Jackson who was the World’s Heavyweight Colored Champion of the time. Historians widely believe that if there had not been racial prejudice as represented by separate titles back then, Jackson would have been World Champion.
When asked why he felt the BKBHOF has been so widely accepted Burt stated “We are very excited that so many boxers are anxious to visit us here in Belfast. We have grown very fast in popularity, and I attribute that to the fact that the boxers easily see our degree of sincerity and pureness. In the boxing world today where it seemingly is all about money these days, the boxers are refreshed to see that we here in Belfast are only about the preservation of history. As a result the boxers and the entire boxing community are quick to support us.”
One of the weekend’s many highlights is the Induction Brunch, which will be Saturday, July 13. This year it will held in honor of local man Zeke Wilson. “Although Zeke himself was a great fighter winning many titles in his younger years and being Larry Holmes sparring partner, he is being honored for his work with our youth and his victorious battle against prejudice in boxing; a story he wrote about in his book The Eighth Roundwhich is scheduled to be into movie production in the spring,” stated Burt.
Included in the weekend will be rare tour offerings of the building that houses the Hall of Fame. The building is actually a pair of 1800s Victorian barns built by Belfast’s favorite son William Muldoon who was a famous trainer and wrestler of the time and eventual Boxing Commissioner from 1921 to 1924. In 1889 Muldoon brought the sickly John L. Sullivan to his home in rural Belfast to train for the last-ever Heavyweight Bare Knuckle World Championship Fight. Getting him away from the limelight and distractions of the big cities, Muldoon whipped him into shape in these barns which resulted in Sullivan beating then Champion Jake Kilrain in a 2 hour 15 minute 75-round slugfest recently dubbed “The Brawl That Started It All” by Sports Illustrated. “These barns are a virtual time capsule,” stated Burt “and we’ve worked hard to keep them that way.” Muldoon gave up ownership of them in the early 1900s and they have been locked up ever since, including the original equipment that Sullivan used 120 years ago. In 2009 Burt moved the barns two blocks to a location in Belfast more easily accessible to the public, spent an immense amount of time restoring them as they contained much structural rot and deterioration, and has since erected life-size marble statues of both Sullivan and Muldoon. “The boxing world has responded more than we could have ever imagined to our project. They just can’t believe these barns made it all these years. They have come from all over the world to view them” concluded Burt who was named Buffalo Ring 44’s 2012 Man of the Year for his efforts that have brought international attention to the small town of Belfast, New York.
For ticket information go to their official websitewww.bareknuckleboxinghalloffame.com You can also call/text Scott Burt directly at 585-610-3326.