Talking points with bare-knuckle boxer Mickey Parker

Mickey Parker on the pads with his boxing trainer Billy Bessey. Picture: Keith Woodland (171415-0127)

Mickey Parker gives us the lowdown on his start to life as a bare-knuckle boxer.

Parker – a veteran of the white-collar boxing scene – made a winning debut at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Tony Oakey celebrates after retaining his WBU light-heavyweight with victory over Neil Linford in 2003

The Leigh Park fighter, 35, beat Daniel Podmore by unanimous decision in that September bout.
Now he is preparing to make his O2 Arena bow in January as he clashes with Tom Ward on a card which also features former UFC star Melvin Guillard.

Click here to read our feature with Parker as he brings us up to speed on the story so far.

And read on to hear his thoughts on making his way with the Bare Knuckle Boxing (BKB) organisation run by Jim Freeman and Joe Brown.

• Parker on his following

Mickey Parker joins Graham Gillman, Gary Burch and Floyd Harris in holding up Gary Burch Jnr, who has diabetes. Picture: Keith Woodland (171276-0008)

I took about 90 people up to Liverpool in September and we are up to 60 or 70 already for the O2 in January.

It’s a hard time to sell tickets but people are buying into it. And for places like the O2 and Echo Arena to host these events, we’re going in the right direction.

They ask me to sell a certain amount of tickets, which is about 50 at a time. They went in the first three days. People were straight on it.

The thing about Portsmouth is it’s a fighting city. We love a bit of boxing and we have always had good support for our fighters.

• Parker on charity work

I’ve just done a 100km trek in the Sahara desert with some friends for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

A friend of mine (Gary Burch) has two children with diabetes and over the past two years we have been doing all sorts of ultra endurance events.

The amount of awareness I have been able to provide through the BKB stuff has been absolutely incredible.

I’ve had people from all over the country message me with their support and telling me about their own experiences of diabetes.

It all shows this can be a power for good.

• Parker on family support

I have a wife and one daughter. I had my daughter when I was very young. She is fully grown up now.

When Jim invited me down in July, he said bring your wife. She watched the whole show and said if it’s what you want to do, do it.

She would never stand in the way of me living my dream. If I come back battered and bruised, she might have something to say but so far, so good.

I make sure I take her out shopping after every fight. We stayed up in Liverpool in September and I took her out the next day. I’ve had my fun after all!

• Parker on the training

I can’t stop training. I am really, really loving it. I always used to wonder how Tony [Oakey] managed to do it all the time but now I can see it for myself. It gets so addictive.

For someone who is not doing it as a full-time job, finding time is tough. You are doing it all after work and that but I’m getting a real buzz from it. It is phenomenal.

Billy just pushes and pushes me. He has got his gym, he has got his boys but he is always there for me and always ready to help me out.

• Parker on his ambitions

I’m living a dream at the moment. But there are world titles on these shows and winning one of them would be my dream.

I’m too old to box. But doing this, if I could get anywhere near world title standard, that would be the aim.

I’d love to still be involved if Joe and Jim get to Vegas. They are absolutely fantastic. They are obviously running a business but they look out for their fighters.

They message me regularly to see how things are going. It is nice to be wanted. They have been unbelievable.

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