5. A Gentlemen’s Brawl in Nashville: The final fights, 14 September 2019.

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The Gentlemen’s Brawl was a twice a year spectacle of physical force and camaraderie held in the ballroom of The Standard club in downtown Nashville.

The last three matches were fought the night of September 14, 2019. It was a boxing match – and more. It felt like you had stepped back in time to the 1930s when style mattered as much as manners and sportsmanship, and the winner was the one who knocked you out, not outlasted you. After all, the Gentlemen’s Brawl was a fight to the knockout.

Most never knew the story behind the fights.

A young trainer named Joey Brassell started his boxing club in nearby Springfield to teach young people (like Honduran immigrant Carlos Martinez, above) how to channel their anger to build themselves up rather than tear others down.

Joshua Smith, owner of The Standard club, invited Joey to put on a boxing exhibition in The Standard ballroom to help Joey raise money for his program. That’s how it began. Yet through all the years of this event, most attendees had no idea, let alone the public. It was never announced or presented as a charity.

I suppose gentlemen don’t announce what they give, they just do it because it needs to be done. 


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