Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

June 26, 2013

Hicks earns bare knuckle honor

Former light heavyweight contender set for hall induction July 13.

(Continued)

BELFAST, N.Y. —

Included in the weekend will be rare tour offerings of the building that houses the Hall of Fame. The building is actually a pair of 1800s Victorian barns built by Belfast’s favorite son William Muldoon who was a famous trainer and wrestler of the time and eventual Boxing Commissioner from 1921 to 1924. In 1889 Muldoon brought the sickly John L. Sullivan to his home in rural Belfast to train for the last-ever heavyweight bare knuckle world championship fight. 
“Getting him away from the limelight and distractions of the big cities, Muldoon whipped him into shape in these same barns which resulted in Sullivan beating then champion Jake Kilrain in a two-hour, 15-minute, 75-round slugfest dubbed, ‘The Brawl That Started It All’ by Sports Illustrated,” Burt said. “These barns are a virtual time capsule and we’ve worked hard to keep them that way.” 
Muldoon gave up ownership of them in the early 1900s and they have been locked up ever since, including the original equipment that Sullivan used 120 years ago. In 2009 Burt moved the barns two blocks to a location in Belfast more easily accessible to the public, spent an immense amount of time restoring them and has since erected life-size marble statues of both Sullivan and Muldoon. 
“The boxing world has responded more than we could have ever imagined to our project. They just can’t believe these barns made it all these years. They have come from all over the world to view them” concluded Burt who was named Buffalo Ring 44’s 2012 Man of the Year for his efforts that have brought international attention to the small town of Belfast. 
For ticket information go to www.bareknuckleboxinghalloffame.com or contact Burt at 585-610-3326.

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