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50-year-old Ken Shamrock to bareknuckle box 'King of the Travellers' James Quinn McDonagh

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You may have no desire to see Ken Shamrock fight again, but his official website has announced that he has been lined up to fight this April.

50-year old Ken Shamrock has seen better days, but may be fighting again soon
50-year old Ken Shamrock has seen better days, but may be fighting again soon
Wikimedia Commons

In his prime, Ken Wayne Shamrock was a physical powerhouse with some of the nastiest submissions in mixed martial arts.

Towards the end of his career, Shamrock was often a sorry sight, and became synonymous with being on the receiving end of beatdowns, so you would be forgiven for not wanting to see Shamrock ever compete again.

His website has announced that the 50-year-old plans to do just that, and against a fellow veteran of combat no less.

Ken Shamrock, a worldwide recognized MMA fighter and UFC Hall of Famer, announces that he will fight UK's bare knuckle legend, James Quinn. The bout is scheduled to happen April 2015 in the United Kingdom (details to be announced).

Perhaps though, against a name you won't recognise, and in a setting that may be unfamiliar to you.

James Quinn McDonagh is one of many who have held the mythical title of 'King of the Travellers'. Fighting in lanes, back gardens and fields, McDonagh is widely respected in the Irish travelling community for taking on all comers and beating them to a pulp.

So why would Shamrock fight him? The press releases elaborates somewhat:

Shamrock knows that Bare Knuckle Boxing is a sport with great potential to grow well beyond where the sport is today. His involvement in this sport is to show support and help its success.

It seems an odd fit for Shamrock. The rules of bare knuckle boxing do not allow strikes on the ground, let alone grappling, so even though Shamrock is a far more respected combatant, he has never been known for his striking so will likely be out of his element.

Perhaps there is another reason.

Quinn McDonagh featured heavily in the excellent documentary 'Knuckle', which I recommend to all fans of combat sports even if bare knuckle fighting doesn't instantly appeal to you. The documentary follows him for many years, and builds up his mystique by showing his huge following and a series of fights.

It also reveals that there are sometimes purses of tens of thousands of Euros involved when agreeing to fight him. Shamrock's press release does not mention any of this, but if a fight between them is made, I presume Shamrock will be well compensated.

He should be as well, as even though McDonagh is getting on in age himself, he appears a very tough opponent for a shopworn fighter such as Shamrock.

There is a fair amount of footage of McDonagh's 'bare knuckle' scraps (the fighters tend to wear hand wraps) and grabbing an easy comparison, he throws a punches in a similar fashion to Fedor Emelianenko. Although the level of his opposition cannot really be ascertained, McDonagh certainly appears a fearsome competitor.

Whether this fight will come off is another matter. Only recently, Quinn McDonagh was lined up to face Bobby Gunn, who is mostly known for being destroyed inside a round in a challenge to then WBO cruiserweight titlist Enzo Maccaranelli. The fight didn't come off.

Quinn McDonagh certainly seems to think the bout with Shamrock will.


As Shamrock's press release states, there is no firm date or location for this bout yet, though as bare knuckle boxing is illegal you can be sure that if it doesn't get changed to a 'white collar' bout the location might be somewhere in the fields of Ireland.