“Really, I want to be fighting for a British title and not just a bare-knuckle fight to prove how tough I am; I think I’ve proved that already.”
James Connelly is a proficient and rapacious bare-knuckle boxer whose prowess within the squared circle is both technically-astute and viciously-relentless when barbarously engaging in the original form of ‘London Prize Ring Rules’, which today we know as BKB.
In addtion to his character and attributes, Connelly could never lay claim to any dreary contests, disrespectful trash-talk or idiotic shenanigans for that matter. No, the Birmingham man is a straight-laced fella who conducts his affairs respectfully, skillfully and more to the point, brutally.
Back in June this year, London’s Indigo Arena was packed to the rafters as James Connelly collided with Ricardo Franco at BKB 17’s Prizefighter final, amidst the thunderous roars of three-thousand fight-ravenous fans, in what became one of the most epic and thrilling battles in the sport’s history.
The fight exceeded everything that bare-knuckle has to offer: It was brutal. It was bloody. It was savage, and it ripped through the rounds with its peddle to the metal in an amalgamation of skill, determination, furious momentum and voracious ferocity.
Both Connelly and Franco presented in Olympic-fit condition as they rapidly-raged against the tide, never allowing the other man to breathe – unloading with a barrage of heavy artillery that induced slick-eyed-shiners, cuts and contusions, over seven enthralling rounds of bare-knuckle boxing.
Although Franco claimed the Prizefighter spoils on the night via a points decision – Connelly certainly sent out a message to his adversaries, proving that he is a fighter, a warrior, a shrewd and ferocious pugilist, and, of course, a formidable threat within the bare-knuckle jungle.
Following his Prizefighter tear-up, James took some time out after four scraps on the trot. However, even when not competing, Connelly never deviates from his gruelling regime, ensuring he keeps himself “in good nick” at the ready. And now, Connelly is chomping at the bit to be thrown back into the mix for title contention.
In a recent interview, Bare Knuckle Boxing News had the privilege to speak with James, touching on his next outing in the BKB ring as well as his predictions for Jimmy Sweeney vs. Ricardo Franco and Dean “Smudger” Smith vs. Tony Lafferty at BKB 19, November 16.
“I’ve not fought since June but like always, I’m in the gym training a couple of times a day. Especially when fighting in bare-knuckle – training sessions need to be short, sharp and intense. Doing all those seven and ten-mile runs won’t do you any good in this game mate.”
“I’m hoping to be matched on this next show on November 16th. I need to fight – I can’t afford to be sitting around – not in this game, it’s not a sport you wanna’ drag out. Because I’m always in the gym – I only need six weeks to get ready.”
“Really, I want to be fighting for a British title and not just a bare-knuckle fight to prove how tough I am; I think I’ve proved that already. Really, I wanna move with the sport, so a fight against Barrie Jones for the British title or the Mexican – Sweeney’s last opponent, Puerta. I’d fight him mate – someone who’s known and a good opponent.”
James touched on his thunderous battle with Ricardo Franco in BKB 17:
“I didn’t ever feel I was ever gonna go down in that fight – my hand was literally ruined by the third. I’ve come into this game with respect and I keep a respect for Franco – he’s a proper fighter at the end of the day. I call him the universal soldier – I was hitting him but he just wasn’t going anywhere (neither was I).”
“I’d love the rematch with Franco but obviously I’m not calling for that at the minute cause’ he’s fighting Sweeney next for the title.”
His predictions on Sweeney vs Franco:
“Me and Franco was a fight, but it’s gonna be a tough one with Sweeney. Sweeney likes to box and he’s experienced in this game and I can see him waiting until Franco launches in, then catch him the same way he was catching Puerta. But with Franco’s fitness and with Sweeney fighting at 76kg back up from 72kg – can he move back up and do the rounds?
I can see either one winning, to be honest – Franco won’t stop going mate – he’s 5-0 and every fucker he’s fought has hit him and no-one’s put him down. His confidence going into that fight will be unreal. But, I really can make a case for either of them winning. It’s gonna be a good fight though mate, fuckin’ hell.”
On Smudger vs. Lafferty:
“Smudger’s a tough lad and I see him doing Lafferty within three cos he’s got some serious power Smudge has, mate.”
“He’s become me mate – he’s just a good, good guy – there are no hidden agendas with him. Smudge has gone down a weight; I fought him when he was about 80kg.
Lafferty’s a tough lad but Smudge has still got that power even though he’s come down. But if Smudge uses his boxing, I don’t see going three mate. So yeah, Smudge winning on boxing ability alone.”
Hopefully, we’ll see James Connelly return to BKB 19 on November 16, where an absolutely cracking night of bare-knuckle boxing is on the cards. Here’s to it!