Many savage nights have embellished London’s Indigo as the menacing fists of ferocious warriors and savvy pugilists wreaked bloody-carnage within the callous domain of a bare-knuckle ring.
Never a prosy bout, a soft touch, or an easy night’s graft to be had in this ruthless business. Hearts have been broken, souls have been ravaged, while fight-punters have basked in the two-minute rounds of educated, ungloved violence.
Bare Knuckle Boxing News had the pleasure of speaking with some the sport’s most talented and pugnacious boxers, in attempts to gain an insight on what was their toughest night in a BKB ring.
Here’s what the fellas had to say:
Sean George (Lightweight Contender & Former British & World Champion)
“My toughest fight to date has to be the one against Kev Bennett for the first-ever lightweight championship of the world. It was at Colwick Hall, Nottingham and over five rounds.
Kev was 42 years old, a former Commonwealth champion, boxed all his life and all through the army. He’d put away his previous opponents in the opener but I took Kev to the final round and I’m the only guy to ever do so.
After that fight, he said he couldn’t have gone another round. My face was fucked though. I knew he was gonna go for body shots so I kept a low guard but was eating them upstairs while trying to defend downstairs.
Kev won the fight but I felt I won the hearts of so many people with my will to win and determined attitude. After the fight, I got rushed to A&E with a fractured eye socket, broken nose and concussion. I also had to have a brain scan too. This was probably the worst I’ve been or ever will be in a fight.
Kev Bennett went and made history by winning the first-ever BKB lightweight world title. But the praise I was getting – it was like I won. I later wrote a post on social media saying let’s not forget Kev Bennett was the winner. Me and Kev grew a special bond and kept in touch, and he still advises me on most of my fights.
So again, ‘The Outlaw’ vs Kev Bennett was my toughest fight to date. The guy nearly killed me. But it’s mad to say I love him for it. We shed blood. Now we share a special bond: Blood brothers.”
Ricardo Franco (BKB World Champion)
“My toughest fight in BKB has definitely got to be against James Connelly in the prizefighter final. It was a seven-round slugfest and my head still hurts to this day! (Laughs)
As the tournament got to the final we both had 2 fights in like 3/4 months with solid training camps back-to-back. It was exhausting and mentally draining with no rest and literally a week off then back in camp.
There was a big build-up; lots of pressure in the final, I felt. I suffered and competed with bad ligament damage and a break in my right hand before the tournament started but I kept quiet as I knew this was my time. I couldn’t train with my hand so I did what I could and had great game plans in the first 2 fights.
When I got to the final, I managed to get sparring in, which was great but still not 100%. But with the adrenaline and mindset, I knew I could get through it.
James was a very tough, awkward fighter, and my game plan didn’t seem to work with him so it ended up in a seven-round war; both just biting down and swinging.
We both went in that final fight with heart and had only one thing on our minds: To win and never give up! The only thing that would have stopped us was a KO but we kept on fighting to the very end.
So big respect to James, he’s a true warrior and it was great to share that seven-round blood bath with him.”
Connor Tierney (BKB Prize Fighter Champion)
“Toughest fight was against Liam Cullen, (just because of what happened previously when I got knocked out in my fight with Ricardo Franco).
The knockout had been posterised and it was sat in the back of my mind every day of the camp and I knew that if I lost that fight I would probably retire. So when I got in there I was really cagey and cautious about everything I was doing and Liam was awkward to fight with his range and switching of stance.
His style made me think every second of what might be coming back at me, and I was conscious about being knocked-out because I didn’t feel like I was mentally positive for that fight (which made it an even harder night’s work than it should have been). But, I eventually settled into the fight and claimed the victory.”
James Connelly (BKB Contender & Former Prize Fighter Finalist)
“Franco. It’s gotta’ be the Franco fight for the BKB Prize Fighter final.
It was just a seven round war throughout; the two us were just hitting each other with everything we had. It was a fast-paced and high-endurance fight where no-one was ever gonna’ give up.
He’s a tough lad. I named him ‘The Universal Soldier’ because I was landing big shots and he just kept pressing forward and bringing the fight. So big respect to Ricardo – we had a proper tear-up.”
As the lockdown noose begins to loosen slightly, here’s to a safe transition towards some normality and back-to-back BKB events!