The ancient sport of bare-knuckle boxing is now going to be revived as a professional sport in Russia. The boxing federation of Russia is about to bring back the sport, even creating a new official department to oversee everything related to it.
The decision was taken after experiencing the huge audience interest this year, congregated in several unofficial bouts throughout Moscow. Started since last year, these unofficial bouts are arranged and sponsored by the Moscow-based Hardcore Fighting Federation. Also, its online broadcasts have reached views in millions, which is giving a pretty much idea of the growing popularity of bare-knuckle boxing in the country.
The introduction of gloves in the boxing arena had overtaken bare-knuckle fighting in the UK since 1892. Though unregulated by this, the sport has never been illegal in the UK. In many other countries, where this type of fighting was outlawed, it survived as a popular underground sport. During the Soviet era, the sport used to stay somewhere in the middle ground, where it was strangely neither allowed nor banned. But since the mid-1990s, there have been several moves to revive the sport.
The Russian Scene
The sport became popular in Russia during the late middle ages. Especially around Christmas and Easter, bare-knuckle fighting in teams or one-on-one was very common and popular. The fighting teams were selected from a particular street or a village. Sometimes, a grand spectacle of mass fighting used to happen, involving hundreds of people on both sides. Considering it a pagan tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church banned the sport around 1274, announcing ex-communication for the fighters. But, it was viewed as a sport of pride by the Russian tsars and the aristocratic society, few of whom were involved in the sport themselves. Hailing the pure physical prowess of the fighter, this straightforward sport of fist-fighting is now coming back to the arena in a huge way.