Promoter talks up this weekend’s bareknuckle card topped by Sweeney v George

Ringside 03/09/2018

Armchair fight fans can tune in to see Jimmy Sweeney and Sean George battle to decide who is bareknuckle boxing’s No 1 on Saturday night.

Vice will be screening the show from the O2 Indigo in its entirety, starting at 10.0pm.

Jim Freeman, co-founder of promoters UBBAD, says viewers can expect to see no journeymen, only 50-50 fights – and spectacular knockouts.

“It’s very explosive,” said Freeman.

“It’s high impact stuff and we get knockouts because everyone comes to win and takes risks.

“We match them fairly. It’s not like a pro show when you turn up knowing who’s going to win. I accept that technically, some of our fighters aren’t the best – and we match them with others who aren’t the best technically.

“We don’t have home and away fighters. They are all our lads and they get matched fairly.”

Armchair fight fans got to see what all the fuss is about when highlights were screened of their last show, held at the O2 Indigo in June.

The channel reports the hour-long programme rated well – only one show pulled in more viewers that week – and viewers saw Sweeney and George power to spectacular knockouts.

George captured the world lightweight title at the fourth attempt by ironing out Liam Cullen inside a round with a thunderous right hand, while Sweeney kept his world middleweight title by flattening Kris Tresize.

Sweeney now drops down to lightweight in a bid to become the sport’s first three-weight world champion.

The 34 year old from Sligo is bareknuckle boxing’s star, a slightly unhinged Traveller with a crazy, unfathomable way of boxing.

“I have a unique style,” he said, “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.”

Sweeney accepts it’s getting tougher at the top. “When we first started, a lot of the fighters were just pub brawlers and I could use my skills to beat them,’’ he said.

“But they are all athletes now, ex UFC fighters and ex professional boxers, and there’s talent coming through as well.”