Gainsborough's Ricardo Franco commits to bareknuckle boxing
The 28 year old from Gainsborough this week penned a three-year contract with BKB TM ahead of what he describes as “the biggest fight in bareknuckle boxing.”
Franco stunned pound-for-pound No 1 Jimmy Sweeney in November, 2019 – and they meet again at the Indigo at O2 Arena on Saturday, September 11.
That fight will be screened on Virgin Media after BKB TM co-owner Joe Smith-Brown agreed what he called “a massive deal” with the company.
Future shows will be available in millions of homes and that’s helped convince Franco his future is with BKB TM.
He said: “I had interest from other companies, so I rang Joe and he’s convinced me the sport is growing and I’m happy to stay with them.
“Joe says that if I beat Jimmy, they will be looking to bring in fighters from all over the world for me to fight.
“Even if I lose to Jimmy – and I don’t think for one second I will – there would be a third fight and that’s massive.
“So there are big fights out there for me. We will have to wait and see who’s ready to step up.”
Smith-Brown says shows in America and Russia are likely in the next few years and beating Sweeney in their rematch would confirm Franco as one of bareknuckle boxing’s biggest stars.
He said: “Jimmy has been the best in the game since I started. Everyone knows he is the spot’s No 1 and to beat him twice would be insane.
“What’s next for Jimmy if I beat him ? I think he might retire. That’s how big this fight is.”
Franco has won all six bareknuckle fights since making the switch from MMA and explained what makes him so good.
“You don’t need to have wars in BKB,” he said. “You can win fights with your jab. The best way to fight bareknuckle is to be in and out quickly, not standing there trading and picking up damage.”