To casual fans, the painful sport of boxing is a spectacle that draws its attention from both the brutal blows and the characters that don the gloves. We like to see two characters duke it out in the ring, but it may not surprise you to know that this has always been the case, dating back before history itself.
The softcore dueling didn’t become an official sport until the 23rd Olympiad, back in 688 BCE. Flash forward millennia later, and it seemed for a time that the great sport of boxing was going to die out into one of the lesser-favored competitions, that is until the internet came to fruition. Love them or hate them, when the Paul brothers stepped into the ring, boxing got a revitalization that drew the eyes of millions, both in person and across the screen. Boxing has grown to be a favorite spectacle for the younger generation, and nothing proves that more than King of the Ring UK, an underground fight club in Manchester that racks in millions of views overtime.
Unlike professional boxing you can catch on pay-per-view TV only at certain times, not only are KOTR’s fight on demand, but they’re absolutely free. If you want to see them in person, though, you will have to pay for a ticket, but if the cheers, shouts, and looks of awe from everyone in the crowd tells you anything, it’s worth it, and it’s far cheaper than even the furthest back row seat in a UFC fight. They’re just as entertaining, with some of their most popular clips being of insane knockouts or fights between some of their more famous fighters. They’re not names you would recognize when outside the circle, nor do they have a major amount of skill, but they all exude the same cocky, feisty personalities and tough blows as even the most famous of UFC champions.
You can find KOTR on various social media platforms where you can find clips of some of their more popular moments and announcements. They don’t have an official set up, simply popping up here and there around Manchester, their main location being an old boxing gym.
While it may seem like a fun event on the outside, people who are genuine fans of the KOTR brand itself will tell you there’s more to it than just boxing. The host of every show is Remdizz (he prefers to use just his nickname), who started the series a little over a year ago.
KOTR has a motto that you’ll find on shirts, on their social media, and on the banner that hangs above the ring: “PUT DOWN THE KNIFE, USE YOUR LEFT AND RIGHT.” The motto is somewhat of a philosophy for Remdizz, who believes that by keeping the violence in contained spaces, then it might just slow the tide of violence among youth, which has unfortunately risen by a substantial amount in his city. People come, settle their beef in the ring, let off all that steam, and go home. No one has to die.
Remdizz wants the event to be free of gang influence or any dodgy activity— just clean, simple fun, and if you can’t settle a dispute with words, there’s always the ring. So far, that dream has remained firm, and their shows have been known to take moments of silence for victims of knife violence. Every so often, you can see a fighter donning a shirt bearing the photos of friends they’ve lost. The fighters are fed and paid for their time, and even if it’s not as glamorous as you’re used to seeing on TV, the hospitality cannot be understated. Despite the bloody noses and the two-second KOs, KOTR is a safe place for those that know it intimately.
Remdizz does have a vision to continue growing the brand and continue helping people through one of his favorite pastimes. The Youtube channel alone already had over 100 thousand subscribers, which is extremely impressive given the event is just over a year old. It’s a beloved brand to those who watch every episode, and it’s one that has a lot of heart behind the scenes. Many find it just as entertaining as professional fights; it even has a Christmas special where you can see a few of the fighters slipping and sliding around the ring in the snow. It’s no wonder some of these videos rack in over a million views.
As the years continue, no doubt KOTR will expand and hit new heights, and hopefully its message rises with it.