Hereford Films has announced a co-production pact with producer Clinton Montague for a movie about iconic bare knuckle fighter Lenny McLean, Variety has learned exclusively.

Hereford Films’ CEO Jonathan Sothcott and Montague, who owns the exclusive film rights to McLean’s autobiography “The Guv’nor,” are in advanced discussions with a major UK distributor. Private equity is already in place.

The script is co-written by Montague and McLean’s biographer Peter Gerrard, with additional material by Micky De Hara (“RocknRolla”). Montague will direct.

McLean said in his autobiography that he had been involved in more than 4,000 unlicensed fights in addition to serving as a bouncer and an enforcer in the London underworld. He also starred as Barry the Baptist in Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” and died unexpectedly at the age of 49 a few weeks before the film opened.

“Lenny’s amazing story has been a long time coming to the big screen, but I am confident I have found the right partners with whom to finally make the commercial, exciting film Lenny’s memory deserves,” Montague said.

Hereford Films’ chairman Billy Murray said: “This feels like the most exciting British crime biopic since ‘Legend’ and we’re pulling out all the stops to do Lenny justice.”

Casting is set to begin in the spring with an anticipated summer shoot.

Hereford Films’ slate includes true crime thriller “Head Hunter,” and U.S.-set horror film “Memorial Day.” The company is currently in production with GFM’s Evolution Pictures on “Eat Local,” a black-comedy vampire film directed by Jason Flemyng and starring Charlie Cox and Vincent Regan.