gloves off | 

Big Brother star Hughie Maughan fought 'scummy' bare-knuckle bouts as a young man

"I loved the sense of achievement but I think because I was gay I found it hard to fit in such a stereotypically kind of manly environment," Hughie says.

Hughie Maughan and Lucy Kennedy

Eugene Masterson

HUGHIE Maughan has revealed how he got caught up in vicious bare-knuckle fights while growing up as a Traveller.

The gay Big Brother runner-up explains that he learned boxing from the age of 10 to 17 and had to use his skills on the streets to defend himself.

"I used to be quite good at boxing actually," Hughie (27), from Ballymun, Dublin, tells Lucy Kennedy on her Virgin Media show tomorrow.

"My dad was a bit like a pushy stage mum. It's not that he made me box. I do think that maybe where I come from, it's completely the norm.

"There probably is a little bit of toxic masculinity, where there is like 'oh well my son is not going to be the only person who can't box' and 'it's the manly thing to do' and 'it's the done thing to do' and whatever else."

Hughie, who lives on a settled site with his family in a north Dublin suburb, has not boxed in a long time but still has the knack and shows off his skills with a punchbag in a gym to Lucy.

"I loved the sense of achievement but I think because I was gay I found it hard to fit in such a stereotypically kind of manly environment, so that part was difficult for me, but everything was difficult for me as a teenager with that," he notes.

Hughie Maughan

"But the sense of achievement was good and I ended up being really good."

He had to get to use what he picked up in the gym out on the streets.

"There was two or three occasions within the Travelling community where I had to put my boxing to use and two times I had like two bare-knuckle boxing matches, which I'm not proud of, and its scummy and disgusting. It was me defending myself.

"I wasn't scared, because what's to be scared of. If somebody beats you they beat you, there's nothing to be scared of. I've climbed a lot higher mountains than that.

"If I can come out to my family who did not understand me at all... There is nothing more scary that thinking you're going to be on your own forever."

But his father Hughie senior admits on the show that he found it hard to come to terms with his son's sexuality and sobbed into his pillow holding his boy's boxing gloves when he first learned he was gay.

Hughie snr was only told about his son's sexuality when he entered the Big Brother house.

"I was one of those people, 'you're straight and that is it'... I wasn't a nice person but just judging people because they were gay."

Hughie Maughan

He and wife Kathleen had "a very hard time" over the revelation.

"We were crying and things like that. Not that we were against gay people," he admits. "We were shocked, because I did not know until Hughie went on Big Brother."

It was only when he went to visit a cousin's grave in Navan and saw lots of young people buried that he realised life was too short.

"The night of the final I told Helen (a relation) to tell him three things. 'I'm sorry, forgive me and I love him'," he recalls.

Hughie tells Lucy how he is raking in cash from his Only Fans site and also how he wants a hair transplant to add to his other surgical procedures.

"I want a better hairline," he confirms. "I've had lipo twice, I've had my bum made bigger, I've had my teeth done. All of those things I was never massively insecure about," but the hair was like completely spoiled my whole like life. So I need to go get it done

Living with Lucy - Tomorrow Virgin Media One 9pm

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