Gainsborough's Ricardo Franco ready for new era of bareknuckle boxing

Ricardo Franco plans to launch a new era in bareknuckle boxing next weekend.

Ricardo Franco has vowed to get the job done.
Ricardo Franco has vowed to get the job done.

The 28 year old from Gainsborough takes on Jimmy Sweeney in a rematch the sport has been waiting for at the O2 Arena in London a week on Saturday (September 11).

Franco toppled the pound-for-pound king with a cuts stoppage in November, 2019 – and says a quick win in the rematch will confirm he’s the best bareknuckle boxer in the world.

“Jimmy has been the main man for years,” said Franco.

“Everyone knows that.

“That has changed since I beat him. It’s me and Jimmy at the top now. I’m getting more recognition. I’m the pound for pound No 1.

“I’m going to stay there for a long time.

“People say I beat him on a cut last time, but the way I see it, it was my punches that cut him, so it was still a technical knockout win for me.

“I want to finish him properly this time so there are no questions asked.

“Every day in the gym I visualise finishing him.

“I can see exactly how the fight will play out. I did that before the first fight and it went exactly how I thought it would.

“The way I see it, the pressure is all on him.

“Where does he go if he loses to me again ?”

Sweeney has avenged his previous losses in the bareknuckle ring, but in Franco he faces a rival who was able to match him for ring generalship in their first fight and had the heart to get off the floor from a heavy knockdown.

Franco admits he made the mistake of played to the gallery too much in the first fight and promised ahead of the return: “This time I’m not messing about.

“I’m going in there to get the job done.

“I know he may come with a different style, but my mentality this time is that I will finish him.

“I’m not being cocky and arrogant. I know how hard I train. I know how much I’ve put into this camp.”

Franco will be wearing a colostomy bag when he fights after having his large bowel removed.

He said: “I’m sending a message to people with the same illness I had.

“I’m telling them: ‘Don’t give up.’

“I’ve show that with a strong mindset you can beat it.”