Jimmy Sweeney is looking to become a bareknuckle boxing legend.
Promoter Joe Brown describes the fight between Sweeney and Sean George at the O2 Indigo on Saturday, September 8 as ‘’bareknuckle boxing’s equivalent of Floyd Mayweather v Vasyl Lomachenko.
‘’It’s the best against the best.’’
Sweeney is looking to add George’s world lightweight title to the super-middleweight and middleweight belts he has previously won and the 34 year old from Sligo said: “I’m in this sport to be the best and build a legacy.
“I want people to say in 10, 50, 100 years’ time: ‘Jimmy Sweeney was the best who ever fought bareknuckle.’
“Winning this fight will make me a three-weight world champion and a legend – and I’ve still got three or four years left in the sport.”
Sweeney has an official bareknuckle record of 19 wins and one defeat – he’s reversed the only loss – but has been fighting without gloves all his life.
“People in England are fascinated by bareknuckle boxing, but back in Ireland, it’s the norm,” he said. “It isn’t a sport, it’s a way of life, it’s how we resolve disputes.
“I love this sport. Being an Irish Traveller, it’s close to my heart.”
Sweeney was a successful amateur boxer and says he made the switch to bareknuckle boxing because his missus didn’t fancy him !
“I was fat,” he said, “and my ex-missus said: ‘I don’t find you attractive anymore, you had better do something.’
“I went to the gym and decided to take up bareknuckle boxing.”
Sweeney made an explosive start to his bareknuckle career. He had two knockouts on the same night and has gone on to establish himself as the sport’s pound-for-pound No 1 with what commentators have called “a snake charmer’s” style of boxing.
“I have a unique style,” said Sweeney, “and if you look at my record, it works !
“it’s all about speed, movement of my hands – and distraction.
“People who fight me start thinking: ‘What’s he doing ? Where are the punches coming from ?’ and you can’t do that when you’re fighting.
“It’s all about making them think about what I’m doing and then punishing them, countering them. My style has always been about pushing opponents back, making them throw the first punch and then countering – and it works in bareknuckle boxing.”