Cliiford Grey


Published May 2015

BBAD Bulletin writer Andy Juby speaks to Bare Knuckle fighter Clifford 'Romany Rye' Grey in this piece from Andy's website strangely called The BBAD Bulletin.

The first time I saw Cliff in action was at Didcot where he had jumped in at short notice to replace a fighter who was unable to be at the show. It's easy to like Cliff with his big smile and modest ways which give no idea of his ability. He can fight and I was seriously looking forward to his next outing but things did not go as I thought they would. Cliff was very ill as it turned out but now he is all patched up and good to go. 

I spoke to him at Raging Bull's last show and he is looking forward to getting back in the ring and did you know his favourite film is Rocky?     
Jon P
Clifford Grey
Q: Although you are well a known and much respected fighter Cliff. BBAD have a lot of new fans that don't know much about you, so could you start at the beginning and tell us a bit about where you grew up and how you started fighting in any way, shape, or form?

A: In the beginning I lived in a wagon till I was a teenager and went all over the country. Leicester and Birmingham were the places where we wintered, Leicester more really so to me Leicester will always be my home. I was about six when trouble started because when I used to go to school in the winter they used to call us smelly gypsies. I soon learned to get me hands up as we were always outnumbered.

Q: So you learnt to fight at an early age, how did you get involved in Bare Knuckle?

A: In my twenties, I used to do it for a living. 

Q: What's your BKB fight record Cliff ?

A: My BKB record is really split into two. Back then in my twenties I had about fifty to sixty fights with no losses and only a few draws. Then fifteen years later until now I've had around twenty five fights, with one loss by my good friend Billy Hawthorn. A couple weeks after that I got pneumonia, then my health went down from there, so a rematch is on the cards I think!

Q: What made you come back to BKB then, after fifteen years?

A: I've always like a good barney even when me and my wife used to go shopping and we'd go past a pub. If there was fighting going on she would say go on then I would have to go in so even after 15 years s away from BKB I just liked to fight LOL.

Q: And now you are back, are you signed to The New Era BBAD Promotions?

A: Yes I have a BBAD contract but personally I would have loved to fight on all shows really, maybe when every one starts pulling in and not pulling away it will happen.

Q: Your fight name, 'Romany Rye' is 'Rye' a Romany word?

A: Yes, it means 'Gentleman'.

Q: Well that speaks for itself I guess! I'm sure that many people who know you will agree with that! Back to your fight record. Billy Hawthorn got the better of you at Newcastle last year, were you expecting it to be that tough? They don't call him bang bang for nothing!

A: I was surprised about Billy to be honest Andy, he's a good lad but I wasn't right that night. I am not taking anything away from Billy he was great, but I would have boxed him a bit more, but hey, he was the better man on the night.

Q: You are fighting Paul Williams at Nottingham. Do you know him, or much about him? Did you see him fight when he was defeated by Paul Knight at Newcastle in February this year?  Like you he is a heavy hitter, how do you see that fight going and do you have a plan once you step into the ring?

A: Paul Williams at Nottingham, I can't wait! He's a big lad and yes, big hitter. I have gone back to basics in my training, speed, power, and tight defense, so we will see.

Q: Paul recently told us that this may well be his last fight. Although he was defeated by Paul Knight, it wasn't an easy win, how do you think he will remember what could be his last fight?

A: Paul will remember his last fight as ''bloody hell I've been hit by a train'' lol!

Q: Who will corner you, Aaron 'Popeye' Watts and Ju Midnite?

A: I think so, but I'm not sure if my brother is coming.

Q: Are you definitely going to be fit enough after your recent illness? What exactly went wrong?

A: I had pneumonia, and then blood clots which came as a big shock. Doctors said it was some weeks before It would have taken its toll.  I've had all the medicals and been declared good to fight now. The illness was caused by chest infection and nothing to do with my body as such.

Q: So how are you feeling? It's been a while.

A: Now at 45, I am still just as fit as in my twenties, but I've got a bit more ring sense now so I am more dangerous and am still hungry for it! I just enjoy fighting, and what a bonus getting money for it LOL

Q: How long do you think you will carry on fighting for?

A: I will stop fighting when I start feeling my age, but at the moment I'm 21 LOL!

Q: What would you like to achieve in BBAD and BKB now that you are back? Would you fancy a shot at the title if the opportunity arose? In no way will this be interpreted as a call out, but how do you think you would fare against Mike Ferry?

A: I am an aggressive fighter, as is Ferry. It would be good to see someone last more than thirty seconds with him, and that would be me! We have some unfinished business really, because I nearly fought him in Knuckle for that belt, but it did not happen. Then at Wales he didn't turn up. I would love to fight the winner of his next fight.

Q: What if that meant Tim Hague, the Canadian MMA champion?

Cliff Grey, Ju Midnight and Arron Watts
A: Look Andy I ain't the best fighter in the world, but I'll fight any man on the planet. I'll hold my own, it's in my blood, in my bones even.
Q: You're a big hitter Cliff with lots of experience, who would you say would be the biggest challenge for you, and is there one fight you would take if it was offered?

A: I would love to fight James McCrory he would be my ultimate fight. I asked him at Newcastle.

Q: Wow what did he say?

A: We shook on it, before he dropped his weight, but he must have forgotten because he dropped for Dave ( Radford ). I don't think it will happen now.

Q: Any other dream fight you would like to take?

A: James Quinn would be my dream fight but these boys only fight for big money don't they! I was gutted that I could not go to the USA in November it would have been a dream come true.

I might have a free ticket to Thailand but it still means 18 days loss of wages for home, so I am trying to get some local businesses to cough up as need about three thousand pounds to cover it. It's a lot of dough, and if i get it then good, but if not then I won't be too upset about it.

Q: BBAD are having quite a few smaller shows too in the near future, as you may know, you are the main event on one! Lots of new fighters will be coming through via these shows, from all walks of life. How would you compare the travelling men who have made their name in BKB so far to the trained fighters that have switched to BKB from gloved boxing?

A: It's a different class now Andy! I am old school through and through, the same as the travelling man, but the fighters now try to end it in under two seconds. So in a way it's taking the fun out of it a bit, but hey that's old school LOL

Q: With all of your experience, you must have some stories to tell! Anything you can share with us here?

A: The smallest place I have ever fought was in a 8 foot horse trailer in the middle of a market!

Q: LOL, please tell us what happened?

A: My friend Michael organised me a fight without me knowing about it! He told me he was buying a horse! The man came all the way from Lancaster, I opened the box, no horse! I was in my nice shirt and trousers but £750 was flashed in front of my eyes, so I stepped in, shut the door, and done the business! Had to chuck away me shirt but hey ho LOL!

Q: Brilliant! Mobile BKB show LOL! How about another?

A: At Doncaster race course I was fighting a man next to a conifer. As I fought the next thing I know a horse comes over the bush! I shit me self big time, stopped fighting, and went up the bevy!

Q: So you're not a horseman then?

A: Even though my dad was a jockey, I've never really had much to do with em!

Q: What do you do for a living apart from BKB then?

A:  I do construction work, block paving etc. At one point I was a bodyguard for three years, gun trained in Saudi Arabia and the UK.

Q: And finally, before we finish, is there anybody that you would like to thank or mention?

A : Obviously Joe because he's the gaffer, but Aaron and Ju have been with me from the beginning. Thanks to all the people who know me, I love em all!

Q: I think Aaron is your number one fan?

A: I love Aaron, I do, he has looked after me and I think the world of him.

Andy: Well that's about it! It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you Cliff, you're a proper Rye!

Cliff: Cushty my chavy!

Yet another great interview by the Bulletin Boy. I would like to say thanks to Andy Juby for allowing me to reproduce this here on Cage Amateurs UK. 

You can catch up with Andy on his Facebook  page by clicking your heels together and saying there's no place like home.
That's about it from me below is the first time I saw Cliff in action hopefully he will be doing more of the same soon. Jon P



Find Cage Amateurs UK on Twitter also Cage Amateurs UK can be Found on Facebook and on YouTube and Google