How ‘Britain’s hardest man’ earned his fierce reputation: Bareknuckle boxer known as ‘The Guv’nor’ faced a GBH charge after taking on an 18-man stag do solo and went on to star in cult film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
- Lenny McLean went from nightclub bouncer, to boxer, to actor
- Often on the wrong side o f the law, he befriended Ronnie and Reggie Kray
- The former boxer claimed to have won up to 3,000 fights in his time
A bareknuckle fighter known as ‘Britain’s hardest man’ garnered his reputation with stunts such as fighting an 18-man stag do.
Lenny McLean has become something of a cult figure to many, for a life which he claimed featured up to 3,000 unlicensed fights under his stage-name ‘The Guv’nor’.
Before dipping into acting in his later life, McLean had fallen into a life of crime which saw him befriending gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
Possibly his biggest win in a fight though, would have been as a nightclub bouncer when he beat up 18 men so badly that he was charged for grievous bodily harm.
Lenny McLean has become something of a cult figure to many, for a life which he claimed featured up to 3000 unlicensed fights
Bare knuckle boxing champion, turned author and actor, Lenny McLean in his heyday
McLean (right) fought Roy Shaw (left) in a so-called battle of the Guv’nors, which ended up having three editions
Jacob Trimmer and Tim Groeschel, hosts of the Let Them Fight: A Comedy History Podcast, looked back on the fateful night when an 18-strong stag party started misbehaving at the Barbican club in Smithfield Market, London.
They said: ‘They’d been drinking all night but suddenly they didn’t like the prices, when the girl behind the bar asked them for £38 – not bad for 18 drinks – they told her to f**k off.’
After the rabble continued to abuse the barmaid, McLean intervened.
He reportedly told them: ‘OK, you’re all drunk, there’s 18 of you, and you’re very brave. You want to fight, we’ll go outside…’
McLean also recalled the incident in his autobiography, ‘The Guv’nor’: ‘I pulled a nice little cosh out of my pocket and went through the lot of them.
‘They went down like skittles as I slashed left and right like a maniac.’
Once police arrived, nine were on the floor, with five needing to be taken to hospital.
McLean, and those left standing, were arrested, with the bouncer told he would face GBH charges after some of the men had broken jaws or ribs.
However, charges were dropped weeks later.
Once police arrived, nine of the partygoers were on the floor, with five needing to be taken to hospital
McLean in 1998 before the launch of his autobiography, The Guv’nor
McLean starred alongside similarly notorious hardman Vinnie Jones (left) in ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’
McLean wrote: ‘They said they’d had a note from upstairs saying, “We do not think it is prudent to use public funds in pursuit of a charge that one man assaulted 18 others.”
‘Of course they wouldn’t – it would have looked a bit funny in the papers.’
This is just one of between 2,000 and 3,000 fights which McLean claimed to have participated in in his book.
Born in Hoxton in 1949, violence followed McLean throughout his life starting with his abusive stepfather from the age of four.
McLean recalled Jim Irwin breaking his leg, jaw, and ribs, on various occasions before he was a teen.
It was in these teenage years that he turned to crime before finding himself as a bouncer.
Unfortunately, McLean died in 1998 just before he could see his character, Barry the Baptist, on the big screen
After he died aged 49, McLean left behind a wife and two children
At 26, McLean moved into the world of boxing, and finally suffered a first defeat to Roy Shaw, however, he demanded and won a rematch.
A trilogy fight between the pair was attended by 30,000 who saw McLean notch a second win over Shaw.
In his quieter, slightly older years, McLean did not lose the hardman image, as he appeared in ITV series ‘The Knock’, and classic film ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’.
Unfortunately, he died of lung cancer aged 49 in 1998 just months before he could see his character, Barry the Baptist, on the big screen.
He left behind a wife, Val, and two children, Kelly and Jamie.
Source: Read Full Article