New Bare-Knuckle ambassador Frank Bruno backs brutal sport to keep growing

RINGSIDE 02/05/2019


Boxing legend Frank Bruno reckons bareknuckle boxing will keep growing.

Paulie Malignaggi’s decision to ditch the gloves has made headlines in the States and over here, there’s been a bareknuckle boxing revival.

Big names including Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett and former British boxing champion Curtis Woodhouse have signed up to fight – and the shows are selling well.

BKB 17 is staged at London’s O2 Indigo Arena on Saturday, June 8 and looks sure to be another sell out, while thousands more will tune in on pay per view.

The last show was a sell out and Bruno was there, making his first public appearance since winning his fight with pneumonia.

The former WBC heavyweight champion has since been named a BKB ambassador and said: “It’s bringing the excitement back.

“I came to shows when there were 2,000 people there, now they are getting twice that and they might have to go to the 20,000 arena soon.”

The heavyweight division in BKB is strong with Tony Johnson, a former sparring partner of Deontay Wilder, holding the interim world championship and former MMA star Mark Godbeer making a winning BKB debut last month.

BKB 17 will feature pound-for-pound king Jimmy Sweeney defending his world lightweight championship against ex-pro boxer Edgar Puerta from Mexico and the final of the ‘Prizefighter’ tournament.

Either favourite Ricardo Franco or James Connelly will claim the £10,000 top prize and a shot at the world super-middleweight championship after reaching the final in contrasting styles at BKB 16 last month.


Franco laid out Connor Tierney with one of the sweetest left hooks you will see this year, while Connelly used his boxing skills to defuse the threat of crowdpleaser Dean ‘Smudger’ Smith to win on points.

From Gainsborough, Franco, also a successful MMA fighter, was the pre-tournament favourite.