Middleton boxer fights bare knuckled in honour of mother

Leeds bare knuckle boxer Mark Holmes travels to Stoke on Trent next Saturday (18 May 2024) to compete for the title of European champion in the city’s Bad to the Bone promotion.

“It’s just two months since I lost my mother following a short illness” said Holmes. “I felt bereft. She’d seen me qualify for the final when I won my bout at John Charles back in February when I beat Corey Harrison from Burnley. The best way though for me to honour her memory is to compete in Stoke and win. She’s fuelling me. Saturday’s event is my fifth bare knuckle bout and I’m grateful to the coachload of supporters and many others travelling by car to support me.”

Mark Holmes with his mother

Holmes had his first bout as Thai boxer aged thirteen and, coached by Steve Adams, won both British and European titles.

“After Steve died, I needed something new. I had a few problems myself and anxiety made me uncomfortable at the thought of wearing boxing gloves, so I thought maybe it’s time to try bare knuckle. That’s when I met Stefan Hanks from Stoke who’d set up Bad to the Bone, now probably the biggest bare knuckle promotion in Europe. Stefan and his fighter Simey Doherty have made me more welcome than anyone else in boxing ever has and although I’ve been to war with Simey twice in the ring we are firm friends. I’m now one of their own.”

Forty-three-year-old Holmes makes air conditioning units and lives with his wife and three children in Middleton. He’s well known on the Yorkshire unlicensed boxing scene for giving young boxers their first break while providing opportunities for older ones to continue boxing semi-professionally.

“I set up Holmes Promotionsabout a decade ago with my partner Joe R Ford and we’ll have had about thirty shows. The next one is at Morley’s Sky Banqueting Suite on Friday 31 May. I’ll hopefully be a European bare knuckle champion by then. We provide an entertaining evening for spectators but recognise that being on the shows also gives many younger boxers a much-needed focus. Devin Myers from Middleton is a prime example a tough boy who always puts on a good performance.”

Mark Holmes will box Polish fighter Dawid Chylinski over five two-minute bare knuckle rounds at Fenton Manor Leisure Centre Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday 18 May and wishes to thank all his sponsors including SPG Windscreens, ASI Nationwide Windows & Doors, I.T.S Turbos, Autoworks Leeds and Grab n Go Waste Removals.


This post was written by James Bovington


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