Before we begin the break down of the fights from BKB 17, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Jim, Joe and everyone over at UBBAD BKB for putting on a real cracker of a show. This will surely go down as one of the greatest Bare Knuckle Boxing events of all time and It was incredible to experience live in the flesh.
Onto the article, this is simply just a quick rundown of all the fights and a few picks by Toe The Line for, Fight Of The Night, Performance Of The Night and Knock Out Of The Night. A little bit of fun if you will and a chance to highlight some stand-out moments from the fight card. So without further ado here are your post-fight reflections.
Mason Shaw Def. Dave Thomas, Unanimous Decision
As good a curtain-jerker as you’ll ever see, Mason Shaw and Dave Thomas produced fireworks in the opening bout of the evening. Shaw, straight off a controversial draw with Jack Draper at BKB 16, came out with something to prove and prove he did. After weathering an early storm from Thomas, Shaw found his rhythm in rounds two and three, using excellent footwork to dart in and out of range, scoring a knockdown in round two and cruising to a unanimous decision victory. After the contest, Shaw hopped on the mic to call for a rematch against rival Kevin Thompson, after their first bout ended frustratingly with a stoppage due to a cut sustained by Shaw. Hopefully, this bout goes ahead in the near future although it was reported Thompson is stepping away from the ring temporarily while he sorts out some personal grievances. Nevertheless a worthy ‘Performance Of The Night’ for Mason Shaw who is surely back in the title picture after an impressive win over Thomas.
Connor Tierney Def. Liam Cullen, Unanimous Decision
The second bout of the evening saw Connor Tierney face Liam Cullen in another great match-up. Tierney looked the sharper man on the night with his hand speed causing huge problems for Cullen in a quality display bolstered by Cullen’s unrelenting forward pressure. After the dust had settled and Tierney was named the victor, Cullen announced his retirement from the sport, bowing out gracefully against a top up and comer who certainly looks to be a future star in Tierney.
John Hick Def. Jamie Oldfield, Unanimous Decision
The final preliminary bout of the evening saw John Hick share the ring with Jamie Oldfield. Yet again, Hick would come in as a short notice replacement and yet again he would have his hand raised in impressive fashion. A stiff cross combined with well-timed telegraphing would be the story of the fight, as Hick put in another mature performance which displayed his well-rounded skill set. A tough night for Jamie Oldfield who will hopefully bounce back from this defeat with renewed vigour.
Paul Hilz Def. Greg Mayne, First Round TKO
Kicking off the main card was the always entertaining Greg Mayne who faced debutant Paul Hilz in his final BKB contest. After a ferocious start to proceedings that saw Hilz drop Mayne with a flurry of right hands, Mayne sustained an injury to his left hand which led to his corner throwing in the towel after he was dropped a second time. Not the swansong Mayne would have been looking for but nevertheless a tough position to bounce back from, not to take anything away from Hilz of course, who came to fight.
James Lilley Def. Jonny Lawson, Unanimous Decision
A fight which saw two opposing styles pitted against each other, James Lilley versus Jonny Lawson was another cracking fight to go the distance. Lilley came out looking to out-box Lawson, while Lawson looked to make things ugly and land his trademark left hook. In the end, it was a comfortable victory for James Lilley who remained in control throughout the fight, yet Lawson remained as he always does, inches away from landing that killer blow.
Daniel Podmore Def. Josh Burns, Third Round TKO
Next up were the Heavyweights as Daniel Podmore faced Josh Burns. A gruelling contest which saw both men face early adversity, the first round saw Burns drop Podmore with a tidy combination before Podmore began landing some huge shots in the later rounds causing Burns’ corner to throw in the towel. A great example of why Heavyweight Bare Knuckle Boxing is such a spectacle for the fans, this back and forth brawl was another contender for ‘Fight Of The Night’ which just missed out.
Marley Churcher Def. Danny Anderson, Third Round KO
Then came two new faces in Marley Churcher and Danny Anderson in a much-anticipated bout. Clear from the offset was the special kind of talent Churcher brought to the table, dropping Danny early with a clean jab straight on the chin. From here momentum continued to sway in Churcher’s favour, as he began to land from the hip and make good use of lateral movement, providing him with the tools to put Danny out in the third. A truly faultless debut, Marley Churcher gets a ‘Performance Of The Night’ award from me.
Scott McHugh Def. Sean McFarlane, Second Round KO
Next, was the final walk for a legend of the sport, Sean McFarlane, as he faced off against Scott McHugh. McHugh was in cracking form on the night, slipping McFarlane beautifully and landing multiple meaningful blows. By the end of the first, it was clear McHugh was ahead, yet McFarlane never took his foot off the gas and finished the round well. However, the combinations of McHugh began to pile up and early in the second McFarlane was dropped by a stinging left hand that proved to be the decider. Another great fight which saw the best brought out of both men, McHugh proved again that he’s championship ready and will no doubt become a legend of this sport. I’ve given McHugh a ‘Performance Of The Night’ for a high-quality victory over top opposition and for thoroughly entertaining while doing it.
Dom McConnell Def. Mitch Turner, First Round KO
One of the most brutal knockouts in BKB history, Dom McConnell versus Mitch Turner was one hell of a war for as long as it lasted. From the off-set, both men began swinging wildly in an exchange that could have seen either man go out. However, it was McConnell who amongst the chaos would land a scorching right cross to end the fight in emphatic fashion. No doubt in my mind that this was the ‘Knockout Of The Night’ and I’m sure everyone else agrees.
Rob Boardman Def. Ricky Nelder, First Round KO- BKB Super Middleweight Title
Possibly the most impressive ‘Performance Of The Night’, Rob Boardman utterly dominated BKB legend Ricky Nelder in a flawless display which saw him crowned the new BKB Super Middleweight Champion. In a fight which many were considered to be a real fifty-fifty, few would have imagined Boardman dropping Nelder four times inside the first round. Working the body and head well, Boardman displayed expert timing and precision in every strike, as he put out one of the very best BKB have to offer with relative ease. After the fight, Boardman was matched up with Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Lerwell in what is guaranteed to be one of the fights of the year for the middleweight crown. As always Commiserations to Ricky Nelder who seemed out of sorts on the night and will no doubt come back better than ever like the true champion he is.
Ricardo Franco Def. James Connelly, Unanimous Decision- Prizefighter Final
Ricardo Franco versus James Connelly was quite frankly one of, if not the best Bare Knuckle Boxing matches of all time and for me is well deserving of ‘The Fight Of The Night’. This contest had everything, technical striking, high-paced action and a massively competitive back and forth battle, despite the judges comfortably being in favour of Franco. Both men gave it their absolute all and to the surprise of many went seven rounds without scoring a single knockdown on either side, a true representation of toughness and chin. In the end, the decision seemed the right one with Franco edging the output and working the body with conviction. Further excitement ensued after the fight, when victor Ricardo Franco took to the mic to utter the words “Jimmy F***ing Sweeney” in what will surely be the main event of BKB 18 in September.
Jimmy Sweeney Def. Edgar Puerta, Unanimous Decision- BKB Lightweight Title
Then it was time for the main event of the evening as ‘The King of BKB’ and consensus greatest of all time Jimmy Sweeney took on former WBC Silver Super Featherweight Champion, Edgar Puerta. Never in the history of BKB has there ever been a more anticipated matchup than this, and it certainly did not disappoint with Sweeney turning in a world-class performance against his toughest test yet. Rising to the occasion, Sweeney combined fluidity with unpredictability as he outclassed a man who was once considered the number one contender in Super Featherweight Boxing. Utterly breathless from bell to bell the two men stood toe to toe throughout the seven rounds in a display of technical brilliance which truly dispells the unjust misconception that Bare Knuckle Boxing is simply a sport of slugfests. As the fight came to an end few could deny Sweeney’s place as one of the all-time greats of combat sports, showing the world just how devastating this mans head movement and combination punching really is. All hats go off to Jimmy’s opponent Edgar Puerta for never easing up and providing us with a number of great exchanges. The final of five ‘Performance Of The Nights’ go to Jimmy Sweeney in a card stacked to the brim with talent.
‘Toe The Line’ Fight Of The Night: Ricardo Franco vs James Connelly
‘Toe The Line’ Knockout Of The Night: Dom McConnell vs Mitch Turner
‘Toe The Line’ Performance(s) Of The Night: Mason Shaw, Marley Churcher, Scott McHugh, Rob Boardman and Jimmy Sweeney
Card Rating: 10/10
Crowd Rating: 8.5/10