Colin Fletcher to challenge Bareknuckle champ Jimmy Sweeney on Nov 17

RINGSIDE 05/10/2018

Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher has vowed to make fight fans laugh, cry or boo after accepting a fight with bareknuckle boxing’s No 1.

Fletcher has switched from the cage to bareknuckle boxing – and is chucked in at the deep end on his debut.

The spindly scrapper from Sunderland challenges the sport’s pound-for-pound No 1, Jimmy Sweeney, for his world lightweight championship at London’s O2 Indigo on Saturday, November 17.

“Why not ?” said the 35 year-old. I don’t believe in half measures – and I’m going in there to make as many people smile as possible.

“They will be laughing, crying or booing ! I’m a self-confessed show off, an attention seeker, and so is anyone else who wants to fight in front of thousands of people !

“It’s too late for me to be remembered as the greatest fighter ever, but I can be remembered for being the guy who put smiles on people’s faces. Of course I want to be remembered.

“You see great fighters disappear because all they are good at is fighting, but I don’t want that. I don’t want to be irrelevant. I revel in the spotlight.”

Fletcher has already made his mark on MMA, competing in UFC, BAMMA and Bellator.

“I haven’t quit MMA,” he said, “but now this fight is my challenge. I’m going to live and breathe bareknuckle boxing until this job is done.”

“The job is a tough one. Only Justin Lane has beaten Sweeney in 21 previous bareknuckle fights – and the Irishman turned the tables on him in the rematch.

“I’ve always been a striker,” said Fletcher, “and I trained in amateur boxing gyms when I was growing up. The coaches would never put me in for a fight because I was always going off the rails, but the boxing basics are there.

“This is a boxing match, but it’s a bareknuckle boxing match and that’s totally different. I’m used to fighting with small gloves – and at a high level. I’m conditioned. I have people hitting me with flying knees and elbows every day.”

At 6ft 2ins, Fletcher will tower over Sweeney and predicts their seven-round fight will be “a chess match.”

He explained: “Sweeney is clever and fast. He’s very good at going in and out and it’s all about whether I can time him with my heavy, long shots or keep him at range.

“He’s an intelligent fighter at the top of his game, but if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it properly !”