On Saturday night (January 22) in London, one-time light-heavyweight journeyman Jody Meikle dusted off the rust, came back – in fact made a first foray – and fought in bare-knuckle boxing. In his BKB debut, the 41-year-old from Scunthorpe in the UK stepped in at 10 days’ notice and defeated Dorian Darch to win the BKB trophy.
A huge win for Meikle, who had not boxed since a points loss to Billy Corito in May of 2017, the BKB triumph sets Jody up for more big fights.
Here, in kindly taking the time to speak with ESB, Meikle talks about his win and what might lie ahead.
Q: What a great win on Saturday. An historic win.
Jody Meikle: “Yeah, it was wild. I’d not been in the gym or anything. I went from light-heavyweight to fat bastard! But I got as fit as I could do at ten days’ notice and I got the win. For that fight, I got back in the gym and I felt great. It was crackers how good I felt. Honestly, I’ve been a fat bastard and I wasn’t going to fight again. But I saw this late opportunity, against Dorian – a great bloke, nothing against him – and I thought, yeah, I’ll have a go at this.”
Q: It is historic – you can go back to names like James Figg, Jem Belcher, Tom Cribb – and your name is up there now.
J.M: “This fight and the opportunity, it spiraled. I was sat on the toilet and this chance, for a BKB fight came. The wife was dead against it.”
Q: It’s like a real-life ‘Rocky’ story, what you have done…
J.K: “Oh, yeah, it is like a cross between Rocky and a Cinderella story. If someone had told me I was gonna fight for the bare-knuckle championship of the world, I’d have told them, ‘F**k off, stupid.’”
Q: How is it, fighting with no gloves?
J.M: “Tell you what, mate – it doesn’t hurt as much when yer in there. At least I thought that. But today, I feel like I’ve been in a f*****g car crash. Honestly. I tell you, it takes character, it really does. But I’ve got pretty sharp knuckles, like he [Dorian Darch] says, and they can do some damage. He was pretty badly cut up and it was right to stop it (in the 4th round).”
Q: Will your career now be in BKB, not in the ring?
J.M: “Well, I look at it, and I think, what’s the point of me fighting for £800 quid, when it’s gonna take me the best part of £200 quid to get in shape? In BKB, they let you train proper, so why not do it that way! I’m into BKB now, as it is – my body’s in bits now as it is.”
Q: “You looked in great shape on Saturday. But do you look at the history of the bare-knuckle greats, like James Figg, Jem Belcher and Tom Cribb, and others?
J.M: “It hasn’t sunk in. It’s crackers. It’s one of those titles. It is surreal. But all I’m doing is fighting.”
Q: You had 71 pro bouts in the ring, and you were stopped just three times. People ask this all the time – but what’s the toughest sport: boxing with gloves or bare-knuckle?
J.M: “Oh, bare-knuckle, a hundred percent! Of course, it is. I’ve never felt like this (laughs). He’s (Darch) knackered his hand on my head. I asked him how his eye was, and he told me, ‘F**k, man, me hand hurts more. I told him, I’m glad yer hand hurts ‘cos where it landed on my head, it’s killing me!”
Q: It is a great story. I hope the US fans take notice.
J.M: “Look, I’m not gonna be one of these idiots who calls everyone out. All I do is fight and I’d love to fight in America. I’m not for one minute saying I’m the best in the world; there’s people out there who would batter me. But literally, I’d have a good go at it. I’ve got a half-decent chin.”
Q: What next for you?
J.M: “We’ll have to see. But, yeah, whatever chance and opportunity comes, I’ll ‘ave it. And I’ll give my all.”