Champ Ricardo Franco fights back from disease that left him battling for his life

Bareknuckle boxing champ Ricardo Franco is fighting back from the disease that left him battling for his life.

Ricardo Franco has battled back after suffering from ulcerative colitis. Pic by Brooklyn Freeman.

Franco became the king of BKB TM when he upset Jimmy Sweeney – but the 28 year old from Gainsborough was fighting for his life before Christmas.

He was twice rushed into hospital for emergency surgery as his battle with ulcerative colitis became a life-and-death battle.

Franco had his large bowel removed in an eight-hour operation and weeks later had more surgery.

He said: “I’ve been in and out of hospital 10 times over the last few weeks. It got to the stage where I had to have emergency surgery. There was no other choice. The doctors said it would turn into cancer.

“They did the operation and three weeks later they rushed me back.

“I was really sick for three days. “I thought I was dying. I was throwing up pure acid.

“The ambulance came to my house and it turned out there was a stitch internally that was too tight and needed ripping out.

“Four weeks later I was back training, running and hitting the pads.

“It feels like I’ve got a new stomach – and a new lease of life.

“I’ve been fighting this for eight years and I’m not in pain anymore.

“I’m 100 per cent confident I will fight later this year. I’m recovering really well. I’m young and fit and that’s definitely helped. I was out of hospital a few days after the operation and for some people it’s a few weeks.

“I’ve had an ileostomy bag fitted below my belly button and it will be covered by my groin protector so I will be OK to fight.”

Franco revealed he was messaged by Sweeney after the Irishman learned of his struggles.

“Jimmy messaged me when he heard what I was going through and that was appreciated,” said Franco.

“I’m hoping the rematch will go ahead later this year, maybe in November.

“I should be fitter than ever. I seem to have more energy now. I suppose my body was constantly fighting a disease.

“My mindset has got me through this and I’m hoping to give encouragement to other people who have been going through what I’ve been through.

“People get embarrassed by this because you’re running to the toilet all the time.

“I had five or six months when I couldn’t leave the house. It wasn’t any sort of life.

“I’ve stayed positive, got through it and now I’m smashing two-hour bike rides and getting ready to fight again.”