Story of MP who was bare-knuckle boxer is published

Keith Baker, who has written a book on Pontefract MP, John Gully.
Keith Baker, who has written a book on Pontefract MP, John Gully.

A Book about an MP for Pontefract who also made a living as a bare-knuckle fighter has been published.

Author Keith Baker has put pen to paper about the life of John Gully, who served the town in the 1830s.

What makes his life more interesting is that he became a champion prize fighter, and was also a successful bookmaker, racehorse owner and prosperous colliery director, while also serving his constituency.

Prior to that, he was imprisoned for bankruptcy at the age of 22, married twice and fathered 24 children.

Keith, who lives in South Yorkshire said: “I had no prior knowledge of John Gully but when I started to research, I soon become captivated by the extraordinary life Gully had led.

“I wanted to learn more about the man, just what sort of character he was, and what was the secret of his success.

“I soon discovered that Gully for all his outward triumphs was a very difficult man to fathom.

“Yes, he was hugely ambitious and tough as they came, but he never vaunted his wealth

“In researching his life, I found that his momentous achievements in the ring are well documented and make for an exciting read, but reliable contemporary insights into his nature and character are much harder to find. Very little is known about his private life.”

The book, called, ‘The Stakes Were High’, costs £9.99 and is available from mainstream book stores or on the internet.

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