Bare-knuckle boxer, 53, victorious after recommendation from ‘life coach’ Ricky Hatton

Dominic Negus received a hurry-up from pal Ricky Hatton before making a winning start to his official bare-knuckle boxing career – at the age of 53.

By his own admission, the former heavyweight boxer is more infamous than famous following an eventful life in and out of the ring. Negus’s last pro fight was a controversial defeat to Audley Harrison in 2002 which saw him aim a headbutt at the Olympic hero.

Negus admits his antics away from boxing derailed his hopes of genuine success in gloved boxing. But having turned over a new leaf in recent years, he is keen the right the wrongs of his past and exercise some demons.

READ MORE: Bare-knuckle boxing ‘on UFC trajectory’ as US company takes over UK brand in landmark deal

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That has included taking up bare-knuckle fighting with the successful BKB promotion. Having originally been due to make his debut last year, only for his opponent to pull out, Negus finally went to war again, stopping Stanlee Wilson in the second round at a sold-out Indigo arena at London’s O2.

Given his age, Negus knows time is against him, but he is keen to fight again later this year and has been given encouragement by old pal Hatton, the British boxing icon who pulled on the gloves again in 2022 at the age of 44 when he fought Marco Antonio Barrera in an exhibition bout.

Dominic Negus after his victory over Stanlee Wilson at BKB 38
Dominic Negus after his victory over Stanlee Wilson at BKB 38

“I was a class fighter [in his prime]. I got involved in the silly things when I should have concentrated on my boxing career,” Negus told the Daily Star.

“I was the real deal, but I was too militant and did it my way. I wasted my career, now I’m 53 and playing catch-up. This is why I’m doing it now, to exercise those demons that play up in my head. I now want to prove I’m not a wally.

“I was speaking to Ricky Hatton the other day and he said, ‘Dom, I know where you’re coming from, but you’ve got to hurry up and get it done’. I’m very lucky to call Ricky a friend of mine. He’s a good life coach and he’s told me to be careful.

Ricky Hatton in action against Marco Antonio Barrera during their exhibition bout in 2022
Ricky Hatton in action against Marco Antonio Barrera during their exhibition bout in 2022

“Time’s running out for me, I know that, I’m 53. I’ve just got to wrap up what I’ve got to do. I know this is a young man’s sport, but I’m a fighter and it’s what I do.”

As a former gangland enforcer, Negus has been involved in plenty of lawless bare-knuckle scraps over the years, but this was his first taste of it in a professional ring.

“It was different and my hands swelled up a bit,” he added. “He came out and banged me on the chin and I was like, ‘yep, this is bare-knuckle, this is what I signed up for!’

Former pro boxer Dom Negus, who will fight on a bare-knuckle boxing show later this month, has had some strong words for John Fury
Dominic Negus is keen to fight again after making a successful bare-knuckle boxing debut at the age of 53

“It’s intense, one on one, survival of the fittest. I’ve been in plenty of scraps before, but this was different. I felt great after the fight. It was great to get the job done and I felt very emotional afterwards.”

So great in fact that Negus intends to fight again later this year, by which time BKB will have transitioned into BYB after being bought out by the leading American promotion. He is grateful for the opportunity by BKB co-owners Jim Freeman and Joe Smith-Brown, who will remain part of the BYB brand.

“I’ve got to give a big thank you to Jim and Joe for getting me on their shows,” he added. “You never know [about another fight]. Let’s see what’s around the corner.”