Gainsborough's Ricardo Franco out to rule barekuckle boxing

Gainsborough hard man Ricardo Franco says he plans to rule bareknuckle boxing after agreeing a three-year contract with promoters BKB.

Ricardo Franco wants to be the world’s best. Pic by Photography by Brooklyn.
Ricardo Franco wants to be the world’s best. Pic by Photography by Brooklyn.

The 27 year old stunned fight fans around the world last November by ripping the world lightweight championship from Jimmy Sweeney.

Sweeney went into the fight regarded as the sport’s pound-for-pound No 1, but Franco got off the floor twice to beat him.

The ringside doctor said Sweeney’s injuries were too bad for him to continue in the sixth of the scheduled seven rounds, sparking wild celebrations among the new champion’s noisy supporters.

Television commentators had Franco ahead on points at the time of the stoppage and he now wants to go on to become the sport’s biggest name.

“I’ve only just started,” he said. “The plan is to be the No 1 – and I’ve got time to get there. I’m only 27 and there’s plenty left in the tank.

“The fans want to see a rematch with Jimmy and it will happen. He’s still the biggest name in bareknuckle boxing.

“That was a massive win and now I want to beat him again. The sport is growing all the time and I’m looking to fight the biggest names out there.

“Fighters from Europe and America are joining up and I want to fight the biggest names to be recognised as the sport’s No 1.”

Franco says that since he beat Sweeney “everyone seems to betargeting me” – including featherweight champion Tyler Goodjohn and Connor Tierney, who Franco sensationally flattened on his way to winning ‘Prizefighter’ last year.

Franco has warned his rivals that becoming world champion has made him even hungrier.

He said: “I think most people would get in my position and think: ‘I have made it.’

“It’s done the opposite for me. It’s given me even more motivation.

“Looking at social media it seems some people have lost motivation and aren’t training much during the lockdown.

“I have stayed healthy and trained hard.

“I’ve been training two or three times a day. I have a punch bag in my back garden and I did a half iron man the other week.

“Physically and mentally, I’ve never been in a better place – and I could fight next weekend.

“Once the gyms are open, it will only take me a couple ofweeks to get my sharpness back and I will be ready for anyone.”

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