Today, we here at ‘Toe The Line’ countdown our Top 10 hardest-hitting BKB fighters in association with GHQ Magazine, the up and coming gentleman’s magazine that is taking the world by storm! You can find all my latest combat sports content over there as I give my say on not just Bare Knuckle Boxing but all of my favourite combat sports including MMA, Boxing and Lethwei. At only £2.99 per issue, it’s a must-buy! GHQ!
Quite frankly this was the hardest Bare Knuckle Boxing list I have made to date! There are so many hard hitters in BKB that you could easily make a case for twenty or more men to be a part of it. Yet I’ve used the appropriate data available to me and chosen the ten that I think narrowly edge out the competition. So without further ado, here is your ‘Toe The Line’ Top 10 Hardest Hitters in BKB.
10. Rob Boardman
Kicking off our list is Rob Boardman, who rightly makes the list after becoming the first and only man to stop BKB legend Ricky Nelder with a first-round TKO at BKB 17. This is something not even Daniel Lerwell was able to achieve when they faced each other two shows later! Besides this, Boardman also holds a first-round knockout over ‘Granite’ Greg Mayne, a man who was virtually unfinishable during his gloved Boxing career. With an impressive undefeated record of 4-0 opposite three finishes, the current BKB World Middleweight Champion is a force to be reckoned with at fourteen stone.
Up next is future Hall of Famer Kris Trezise at number nine. After seven action-packed contests stretching all the way back to BKB 5, ‘Trez’ has tasted every aspect of the sport and still comes back looking for more. With three finishes from four victories (4-2-1) Trez holds an impressive 75% stoppage ratio, holding two TKO wins over Stuart Maddox and one over Smudger Smith. With this finish, Trezise became the first and only man to drop, let alone stop Smith. A fact that makes the sole blemish on his otherwise exemplary finish rate, Robby Drought, look even tougher.
8. CJ Mills
Next up is CJ, who managed to finish the aforementioned Robby Drought. This stoppage alone serves as a good indicator of the power possessed by the Bournemouth-based beast. Yet it doesn’t stop there. CJ also holds a first-round retirement over Jay Jay Ferguson and an explosive third-round TKO over Ashley Gibson. Even when CJ fell to defeat against Daniel Lerwell back at BKB 16, he was able to drop the Welshman on two occasions and is always on the look-out for a fight-ending shot. Also, interestingly, CJ is one of only four men with two or more victories in BKB that holds a 100% finish ratio amongst his wins. A deserved number eight.
7. Sean George
At number seven is Sean George. Few men will ever match the experience of the Welsh veteran with seventeen fights to his name (10-5-2), but, equally few will match his seven finishes. Amongst his stoppage victories is one of the most brutal knockouts in the history of our sport against Liam Cullen at BKB 11. However, only a handful of hardcores will know that Sean has a fascinating correlation between his finishes. Five of Sean’s seven stoppages have been via Second Round TKO (Reece Gillon, John Spencer, Reece Gillon, Ross Chittock, John Spencer). With four of those, starting with his first fight against John Spencer at ‘UBBAD Wales’ to his second fight against John Spencer at ‘UBBAD Sent To Coventry 2’ coming successively. To underestimate the power of George would be a deadly mistake. Especially when you consider he was often undersized in earlier bouts.
Side Note: If you zoom in on myself (blue suit) beside the left ring post, you’ll get a good idea of what I think about George’s power!
6. Scott McHugh
A man I see rising higher and higher up this list as he continues to improve, Scott McHugh has hands best described as cannons amongst inanimate objects. The sheer ferocity at which he throws every strike is a terrifying quality that has rendered multiple men unconscious both inside and outside BKB. In fact, the only reason Scott doesn’t make it higher on this list is simply because we only have two knockouts as evidence from four fights (2-2). The first against Paul Stredder at BKB 16 and the second against Sean McFarlane at BKB 17. A bundle of explosive power, Scott McHugh is the second man of four to hold a 100% finish ratio amongst active BKB fighters with two or more wins.
5. Paul Hilz
Three wins, three finishes, three rounds, Paul Hilz certainly isn’t one to take his time. Each of his BKB victories have come via first-round TKO/KO, with every one of them more empathetic than the last. The third man to boast a 100% finish ratio with two or more victories. The power that Paul possesses is undeniable, particularly in his trademark overhand right which has sent his opponents to the canvas five times. In his last outing against Bachir Fakhouri at BKB 20, Paul recorded a record-breaking 2.6 second knockdown on his opponent before finishing him later in the round. Rightly nicknamed ‘The Brawler’, this rough and ready customer is one to watch!
4. Barrie Jones
The final man with a 100% finish rate from two or more victories, Barrie Jones, stands as the only one to remain undefeated at 3-0. The current British Featherweight Champion holds the belt after an impressive three-fight finishing streak including first-round stoppages of Liam Cullen and Will Chope and a third-round stoppage (via cuts) of Marc Navarro. The Welshman is huge for his weight and carries immense power particularly in his straight left from southpaw which is regularly his finishing-blow. For anyone that hasn’t seen this man’s fights, I urge you to do so, for without this valuable research you will never truly understand the extent of his devastation.
3. Jimmy Sweeney
Widely considered to be the greatest Bare Knuckle Boxer of all time, Jimmy Sweeney makes number three on our list due to his immense quantity of finishes. His astounding eighteen stoppage victories from twenty-five fights (23-2), is a world-record in BKB for finishes as well as bouts. Jimmy Sweeney boasts stoppages of Jean Carlos Prada, Sean George, Colin Fletcher, Kris Trezise and Cody McKenzie to name a few. The Four-time three-weight World Champion is undoubtedly one of the best punchers in our sport, which is only reinforced by his expert precision and timing. Those who have faced him will concur the fact! There is only one Jimmy Sweeney!
2. Ricardo Franco
There is a justifiable argument to be made that Jimmy Sweeney is the hardest hitter in BKB, yet, the two men that find themselves ranked above him are placed higher due to the barbarity of their finishes. The first of these is Sweeney’s last opponent Ricardo Franco, who holds four stoppage victories from a perfect 6-0 record with three of those four ending in brutal fashion. The first was a violent straight right into a left hook that left Adam Grogan lying unconscious against the ring post at BKB 11. The second was a straight left from southpaw that had Sean McFarlane having to be held up by referee Clive Allison at BKB 15. And the third and arguably the most devastating knockout in BKB history was against Connor Tierney at BKB 16 thanks to a left hook of the highest order.
1. Daniel Lerwell
Number one on our list is Daniel ‘Lionheart’ Lerwell. A man who fights for autism awareness with violent clubbing blows. Currently standing at 4-0 with three of the most concussive knockouts in the history of the sport, Daniel Lerwell defines power! Yet he is one of the nicest, most down to earth guys in BKB and is very much an unassuming character. That is until the bell rings and Lerwlell transforms into a Welsh Wrecking-Machine. Amongst his knockouts a first-round KO over Peter Radford at BKB 10 with a flatlining left-hook that floored his gigantic foe. Next came a rupturing left-hook knockout landed to perfection against Peter Mulvey at BKB 14, before rounding it all off with a flurry of lefts and rights that pulverized CJ Mills at BKB 16. Undoubtedly Lerwell stands in a league of his own amongst ruthless knockouts, however, one man was able to survive to the final bell, Ricky Nelder, who possesses the chin of fully-grown horse. (No hints at our next top 10 list *cough* *cough*).