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 Clare Monaghan
 

Interview With The First Lady Of Modern BKB Promotion

They say behind every great man is a great woman. Today I speak to the woman not behind, but beside the man who started the revolution that is modern BKB, Mr Andy Topliff. She comes from a family where BKB was a way of life her dad being Champion BKB fighter Mr Paddy Monaghan and her brother Mr Tyrone Monaghan a promoter I work with who consistently puts on great shows. Not forgetting mum in all this who is lovely and has had to put up with all this fighting stuff going on around her.

From a child then BBAD and now Field Rage and BKB Pit Fight World Wide she has been involved more than most people in what many would consider a brutal sport. So are you expecting a lady swigging from a bottle of whisky with the look of someone who would kick your face in if you looked at her wrong and a mouth that would make a dock worker blush? Then you're mistaken. That's Lou Lou Holloway, only joking could not resist that. 

If you don't know the name of this lady then I can only assume you have not been involved with bare knuckle boxing for very long, but to be fair she is not one too put herself forward and generally is in the back ground doing her stuff. I first met her at BBAD 2 way back in October 2012. This interview today is long over due so let me introduce you too 'The Lady First of Modern BKB Promotion' Clare Monaghan.

Hi Clare thank you for doing this I should have done this ages ago but it was a Facebook post you put up which was unusually long for you which made me wonder how I've missed doing this interview before now.

If you are sitting comfortably then we will begin.

Clare Monaghan Q. What spurred you on to make that post it came across rather heart felt and somewhat unusual in so much as you are usually going along doing your stuff in the background?

A. I felt very strong at the time and wanted to explain that we do not make money at our events as by the time medics, security, venue, fighters and travelling and their hotels, travelling back, licence, bales of hay for the pit,‎ etc it's gone. The fighters purse is what comes from fans tickets.  Also a lot of people want to get in free at the door or gate and these people need to realise if they do not pay to get in then they are not helping towards the fighters purse.  Also I wanted to show that I have had a tough time and show what has helped me and met lovely people in the BKB world.

Q. Let us go back a few years. What was your earliest memories of the world of fighting?

A. My earliest memory was watching my dad train and his dedication. The house was always busy with men training in the garden and I would train along with them lol

Q. How did you meet Andy and did he sweep you off your feet?

A. I met Andy from when he owned BBAD and I sent him a message as there was a plonker writing stuff on line and it needed to be deleted and he made me admin. We were on the phone all day and night for months and then he came over from Leicester to Oxford. He was so nervous when I met him I kept laughing and the rest is history madly in love and great friends also.


Q. You have more experience of the fight world than most people certainly more than myself but how did BBAD come to be?

A. Andy started up the group and he decided to hold an event in Leicester and I was too frightened to go to the first one and was sat at home waiting eagerly for a phone call from him that all went well. Samuel Kwok ( Ip Man Wing Chun Jon P ) went to our first one and there was about 50 people there maybe not even that, we have continued doing events since.

Paddy Monaghan Matt Thorn and Andy TopliffQ. Before you held your first promotion, not only had you decided to put on a show which in itself can be a headache, but you decided to put on a bare knuckle show. Did you have reservations about the whole thing and how did you feel as the day grew closer?

A. Yes I was worrying that it would be shut down by the police and worrying that no one would go and like I previously said I was that worried I didn't even go lol. I was hyperventilating and I knew I could have a panic attack which I suffer from and didn't want to go and make it harder for Andy having to worry about me along with everything else. My brother came down and did the refereeing so they both went off together so I knew not to worry and he wasn't on his own. 

Q. How did it feel as woman to be so closely involved in such a sport at that time compared to now?

A. The second BBAD event we did was great and I loved it, this is where I met yourself and Daniel and Rod and Linda and of course the fighters. I felt because I was a woman and it being a man's sport I would stay in the background as I didn't want to upset the men as I thought they would think it's not a place for women. But look how this has now changed and half the fans are women and this is fantastic so now I do not feel out of place any more.

Q. As a male I have to say I was nervous coming to my first show and didn't know what to expect. My preconceived ideas could not have been more wrong. What would you say to anyone not sure about coming to a show due to what may have been said in the media or what they have heard? Especially what would you say to the wives or girlfriend of guys who are wanting to bring them to a show?

A.  I would say everyone is very friendly and the women are always nice and we all get on. There has never been any trouble at our events and there is no need to be nervous at all. 

I can vouch for that as I have seen problems with audiences at Cage Fighting and even at a show I helped co-promote but not even anything close to trouble at a show held by Andy and Clare or any other BKB promotion I have personally attended. Jon P

Trans Atlantic Belt HolderQ. I loved the early days of BBAD but as things progress things have to change to appeal to more people. What's your thoughts on then and now?

A. My thoughts on then and now was it was a lot tougher then as we were not sanctioned and now we are sanctioned under the I.B.K.B. which is fantastic. Also we have achieved a lot, we did the UK Title Belt and the Transatlantic Title Belt and we were the only people holding regular BKB events open to the public. We have now achieved a point at which BKB shows‎ by other promoters are held regularly up and down the country which is what we wanted. To get the sport mainstream, as it should be. We do it because of our passion for the sport. No more no less.

Q. Is Andy a pain in the arse at times?

A. Ha ha is Andy a pain at times. Ha ha of course he is but don't forget so am I lol. 

Q. Who does what in the current promotion? Everyone knows Andy as he is the person people see but there is more to a show than the actual show itself. How are things done behind the scenes?

A. With Field Rage and BKB Pit Fight World Wide. Gordon Buchan works extremely hard along with Andy finding fighters and match ups, finding event venues and working on the web pages. Andy sorts medic, security, licence, venue, fighters along with Gordon and referees. I make a few dodgy posters lol and sort tickets and sales, hold the money for Andy and book hotel and travel and moan all the way there ha ha ha.‎ But yea Andy does most  of it I help a bit.

Q. What were you thoughts on the selling of BBAD?

A. When Andy sold BBAD I was fuming he was very ill in hospital and on so much medication I do not even think he knew what he had done. He didn't want to let his fighters and fans down. I concentrated on helping him get better and being there for him and I knew in my heart of hearts we would continue doing BKB events in the future as it's what we love and in our blood. We live and breathe BKB lol.

Q. Obvious question here. What were they when it was decided to do it all again?

A. Andy being ill and getting better was great but he was very depressed as he was taken off Bbad group and obviously he was lost. It was heart breaking to see and I didn't push him but waited for Andy to say the magic words every day, and yep you got it, he said let's start doing BKB events again. Well yes we did and he got 2 fighters over to Hong Kong who fought in a top establishment and with the very rich and famous and they both loved it. Now we are on our Field Rage 3 event on 10th October 2015.

Q. How has the whole promotion thing affected you as a couple if at all?

A. It hasn't affected us at all as a couple well I don't think so anyhow.

Q. Being a promoter puts you in the firing line quiet often unfairly. There must be times that you think it is not worth the trouble. What makes you keep going?

A. Yes there can be tough times and times we can get stressed angry and annoyed but Andy is really easy going and takes it with a pinch of salt and I have a hot temper and I say that's it am keeping out of it and moan and he wears ear plugs so I am talking to myself anyway lol.

Clare and Lou Lou Q. How do you see BKB in five years' time?

A. 5 years' time I am hoping we have many sponsors to help with the promotion and fighters and bigger venues and more fans.

Q. What is your thoughts on women fighting BKB?

A. I think women should be able to do any sport just like men and I think it's great that women want to do BKB I am all for it.

Q. What does the future hold for Field Rage and BKB Pit Fight World Wide? How do you see things going?

A. Field Rage and BKB Pit Fight Worldwide with the determination and passion we have and being under the sanctioned body I.B.K.B. I see it getting bigger. It is like I said before we need sponsorships to help. We have N and A Jewellery who make gold fists for the fighters that win their bout and we have Lab Apparel 'Train Like A Boss' with merchandise and it is all really appreciated. ‎There is a film being made following Andy by the same guy, Ian Palmer, who made knuckle. We did also did a film for Vice when we owned BBAD.

Now a film for our new promotion is great and then it is a case of see where we go from there. We also have In Charlie's Corner at all our events and Rod sells great stuff all for Charlie and I'd like one day to be sat with Charlie having a cuppa and showing him what we have done. That would be lovely. Also I want to do charity for women who have been abused also families. I'd like it to get big and have a fair at our events and shows, all the things which I chat to Andy about so one day Andy will make it happen.
 

Last but not least I could carry on for ages but all good things come to an end

Q. When is that bugger Andy going to marry you and will you say yes or chop him in for a sporty version? (Joking Andy)

A. Andy would marry me today if we could afford it as I'd love my father to give me away but also I suffer from panic attacks so knowing  me I'd be a nervous wreck haha.‎ But yea we would like to marry in the pit. Nutty but cool lol.

That is all the questions over with to finish up is there anyone you want to say Hi, Thanks or Bollocks to?

Thanks to all who help us along the way. 
And Bollox to anyone who thieves charity money. 
 

My phone then received a stream of names Clare wanted to thank, before it finally went flat and died. 

My Mum, Dad and Son. Andy's Dad Paul Topliff. Louise Holloway changing my life and making history bringing Jason Young over for the transatlantic belt fight with James Mc Crory. I couldn't stop crying xx. Rod and Linda always supporting us and Charlie and for taking us to an event and paying for our hotel room xx, also rod sorting out BBAD 200 so people helped for us to buy the transatlantic belt. Myself and Dan Towers for all interviews and video, Damo Harlow also for the same. All the Fighters and Fans who believed in us when many did not. Dave Courtney who allowed us to have two shows in his home. All the admins that have worked with us, Andy for putting up with me. Everyone like Tami Bowers and Louise and Sam Rowe, Gary Johnson and Louise's daughter and everyone who came to the sleep out for the homeless New Years Eve in London. Everyone who helped with quilts, clothes and money so we could hand out bags for homeless men and women xx. Tami taking us and bringing us home when she has her own family New Years Eve xx. 

 
I am sure I have messed up somewhere but pretty much everyone anyone forgotten you know who you are. Jon P. That pretty much leaves me too say thank you for your time and that Clare and BKB Pit Fight World Wide and Field Rage can be found in these following places. BKB Pit Fight World Wide on Facebook  or you can also find Clare on her Facebook Page

 


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