Boxing granddad Bob ‘Bruiser’ Smith has become a global social media star at the grand old age of 80.
A video of the retired Preston garage owner taking on a sparring machine has gone viral on both TikTok and Instagram.
Bob, who was a promising fighter as a schoolboy, has clocked up more than 90 MILLION views trying out the training device being promoted by his boxer grandson.
“I don’t do this social media thing,” laughed Bob, at home in Bamber Bridge. “I think I’m a bit too old for that sort of stuff.
Bob taking on the Sparbar from the clip which went viral around the world.
“But I had a go on this bit of equipment to see how I’d do, the family put the video on the internet and it just went silly after that.”
Grandson Louis “Goldenboy” Brow, 21, lives in Ilkley and is a Yorkshire welterweight champion. He recently featured alongside his granddad in a national newspaper chatting about, amongst other things, social media and the difference between today’s young people and Bob’s generation.
The video of Joe sparring with Sparbar – boxing’s equivalent of swingball – went viral almost as soon as it was aired on TikTok where it currently has 88.4 views, 2.5m likes and 12,000 shares. On Instagram his hits so far total more than 3m.
Son-on-law Mark Brow said the reaction to the clip was “extraordinary.” And he added: “I think he’s big in the States because he looks like Joe Biden.”
Bob gives grandson Louis some tips in the garden gym.
Bob, who doesn’t even have a mobile phone, laughs off the attention he has been getting, saying: “I’m taking it all with a pinch of salt. It’s come as a bit of a shock and it’s nice I suppose, but it’s only on the internet, which I don’t bother with.
“Louis decided he wanted to try and do something with this Sparbar thing and so it’s been good publicity for him, that’s what he needs. He’s an ambitious young man and good luck to him.
“When I tried it I discovered if you don’t get your timing right you get whacked round the back of the head with it. It’s hard to do, it’s all about speed and co-ordination.”
Bob, who ran RJS Commercials making vehicle bodies in Preston until his retirement around 20 years ago, was a budding star as a schoolboy. He boxed for Preston schools and could have gone much further, but his father stepped in and stopped him at the age of 14.
Proud as punch: Bob and his boxing grandson Louis.
“He hated boxing. He’d seen lots of people hurt during the war and didn’t want me hurt in the boxing ring,” he explained. “That was it, so I took up cycling.
“I still love watching boxing on the TV, but the fighters are getting bigger and bigger these days – they weren’t like that in my day.”
Son-in-law Mark added: “Even though Louis is popular on social media with his ‘Goldenboybrow’ brand of tutorials, it’s his granddad who has became a world champion, going global!
“The video hits are still growing and gathering fans from every corner of the world. Even getting admiration and likes from celebrities like Roy ‘The Bones’ Jones, the legendary UFC fighter.
Put ’em up lad . . . it’s time for some real sparring.
“When we him asked about his new-found fame, Granddad Bob said: ‘This could be the start of a new career.’ He said he’s even considering coming out of retirement should Floyd Mayweather decide to take on a fighter with a bit of experience – over 80 years of it.”