Retired Blackpool boxer Matty Askin moves into the world of bare-knuckle fighting

Matty Askin announced his retirement from boxing last month
Matty Askin announced his retirement from boxing last month

Recently retired Blackpool boxer Matty Askin has confirmed his next steps after hanging up his gloves.

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The former British cruiserweight champion has joined the world of bare-knuckle boxing, joining up with UK-based promotion BKB - the only legal bare knuckle company in the world.

It comes after the 30-year-old announced his retirement from boxing in April, finishing with a record of 23 wins (15KOs), four defeats and one draw.

“I’m happy to announce I’ve now joined the BKB team,” Askin said in a video posted on social media.

“I’m looking to have my first fight very soon, I hope you all tune in. Watch out for some big knockouts.”

Bare-knuckle fighting is an ancient combat sport described as the original form of boxing.

It involves punches only, with no kicking or elbowing allowed, and fighters are only permitted to wear wraps, not gloves.

Askin called it a day in boxing after initially targeting a clash with South Africa’s Kevin Lerena at the turn of the year.

But after undergoing surgery on his shoulder last year, he discovered his hunger and drive for the sport had deserted him when he returned to training.

"Following my last fight in September 2018 I had surgery on my shoulder which had been causing me trouble for some time," he said.

"When I recovered from my injury I started to train again and planned on having one final year in the sport with some big fights on the horizon, but when I went into training camp, the hunger and desire to box just wasn’t there anymore.

"I have discussed the decision to call it a day with my family and after serious consideration I realised that I can’t continue to box if my heart isn’t in the sport anymore and I have decided that the time has come for me to retire from boxing"

It was back in 2008 when Askin made his professional debut, beating Paul Bonson on points at Tower Circus.

After winning his first 13 bouts, the 6ft 4in boxer suffered his first loss when he fought for the English title in 2012, losing on points to Jon Lewis Dickinson.

A year later, he got his hands on the belt when he beat China Clarke by unanimous decision at the Winter Gardens.

The crowning moment of his career came in 2017 when he knocked out Craig Kennedy in Cardiff.

He went on to have one successful defence before losing his belt to Lawrence Okolie at Wembley Stadium in September of last year.

"My dream was always to become a British champion and win the Lonsdale belt," Askin said.

"For that I want to thank my trainers Michael and David Jennings, my manager Paul Speak, my former trainer/manager from Collyhurst and Moston.

"I would also like to thank Brian Hughes,for helping me to achieve my dream and the success I had in boxing.

"I also want to say a special thank you to my partner Sammy, my mum and dad and my family, for their love and support throughout my career."