Bartley Gorman, King Of The Gypsies – His Life, Career, And Death.

A brief history of the King Of Gypsies


Name: Bartley Gorman V

Date of birth: March 1. 1944

Gorman was an English born traveller of Welsh and Irish descent. He was also undefeated as a bare knuckle boxer and was the champion of the Ubited Kingdom and Ireland. Many referred ti hin as King of the Gypsies.

Between 1972–1992, he reigned supreme in the world of illegal gypsy boxing. During these years, he fought down a mineshaft, in a quarry, at horse fairs, on campsites, in bars and clubs and in the street.

Early Life

Gorman was born in Nottingham, England to a Welsh father and an Irish mother. His paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were also boxers. Gorman had his first bare-knuckle fight at the age of 12.


When he won the title of Bareknuckle Champion of Great Britain and Ireland, having beaten rival Jack Fletcher in a fight at a quarry, he was 28 years old. He was 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) tall and weighed 15 12 stone (98 kg). On St. Leger Day in 1976, Gorman was ambushed by an armed mob and almost killed. He had turned up expecting to fight a challenger but was set upon by the group, who had reportedly been paid £25,000 to carry out the attack.

Retirement And Death

Gorman claimed to remain unbeaten until his retirement from boxing in 1992, with his last fight being a draw with Graeme O’Laughlan (Kennedy), the diminutive Celtic brawler. A 10-minute documentary about Gorman was made by Shane Meadows in 1995 which can be seen below. Gorman lived in a caravan on grounds that had featured in the documentary. Gorman was building a house in Uttoxeter, but died of liver cancer in January 2002 before it was finished at the age of 57. Hundreds of gypsies from across the country came to the town for his funeral.


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