BKB 18 lent us some iconic match-ups of the highest caliber, some brutal, some technical, but ultimately all entertaining. Today ‘Toe The Line’ plays match-maker, as we bring you ‘Seven Fights To Make After BKB 18’.
Jimmy Sweeney vs Barrie Jones
First up is Barrie Jones versus Jimmy Sweeney. Sweeney faces Ricardo Franco next, meaning this bout is heavily dependent on the outcome of BKB 19’s Middleweight Title fight. Yet when Sweeney returns to Lightweight he will be met with a hungry British Champion in Jones. This fight makes sense for a multitude of reasons, firstly it’ s a logical progression for Jones to challenge for the World Title after winning the British crown. Secondly, both men are very popular and the fight will undoubtedly sell. And thirdly, but perhaps most importantly, it’s a fascinating stylistic match-up. Fights like this are to die for. Jones’ rangy southpaw stance has proved to be a decider in previous bouts, with his proficient straight left causing all kinds of problems for his adversaries. That being said, Jones has never faced someone on Sweeney’s level. Jimmy’s unorthodox counter-striking style lends well to this match-up, with his ability to control range and tempo reducing the effectivity of a front-foot fighter like Jones. A worthy main-event for any BKB card, this one is for the fans.
Tyler Goodjohn vs Winner Of John Wayne Hibbert and James Lilley
BKB 19’s main card bout between John Wayne Hibbert and James Lilley could well decide Tyler Goodjohn’s first defence. This fight does seem to be an unofficial Featherweight title eliminator of sorts, with both men in prime position for their shot. Putting aside the obvious worthy level of the pairing, there is a great deal of deep-rooted history between these two men and ‘El Tornado’. Former Commonwealth Champion Hibbert comes into BKB with a TKO victory over Goodjohn in gloved boxing back in 2015. On top of this there seemed to be genuine bad blood in the lead up to the fight. For Lilley and Goodjohn there lends a similar dynamic. Both men clearly don’t like each other as became apparent in their Twitter spat last month. If Lilley manages to defeat a man who once finished Goodjohn, in turn extending his own record to 5-0, his claim is then surely undeniable. Alternately I’d fully back Sean George vs Tyler Goodjohn II. I’m sure no one would complain about seeing that scintillating show down again.
Sean George vs Edgar Puerta
With everyone and their dog calling for Edgar Puerta’s return to BKB, perhaps Sean George stands as the man for the job. Both men hold close decision losses to the two poster boys of BKB and carry fantastic Bare Knuckle ability. This mouth-watering prospective would serve as a solid test for George who only deserves huge fights at this stage in his career. The underlying story of this fight is once again sold on styles. Puerta will look to get on the inside and make it into a war. While George will look to create distance and counter with hard single shots, increasing his output when openings present themselves. This contest becomes even more interesting when you consider the evolution’s to George’s game and the experience Puerta gained from the Sweeney fight. A brawl set to bring out the very best in both men. We could well be looking at another marquee fight for BKB in Puerta versus George.
Smudger Smith vs Marc Navarro
Smudger Smith stands as the only Prize-Fighter victor to make this list. Despite his upcoming semi-final clash with Tony Lafferty, BKB 18 revealed another willing opponent. Marc Navarro. After an in-house scuffle on fight night, Navarro took to Facebook calling for Smudger next. In the past both men have had their fair share of back and forths on social media, yet this one seemed different. Although Smudger has openly apologised for his actions, Navarro seems to hold genuine resentment. Perhaps, this lends to be BKB’s next big grudge match. To attack this from a stylistic perspective, I feel the technical ability of Smudger Smith is underestimated. His fundamentals are clean and his lead shoulder drop into a straight right is quite frankly outstanding. Opposite, Navarro brings heart, toughness and conditioning alongside an entertaining front-foot style. On paper this looks to be a tear-up, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if Smudger mixed things up in there.
Kris Trezise vs James Connelly
With Kris Trezise back and raring to go, the British Middleweight champion should expect challenges from all-comers in a bid to snatch his title. One such challenger may well come in the form of his own team mate, James Connelly, who certainly deserves a shot at gold. Should both men choose to put friendship aside for this fight, we could well be looking at an all-time great. Two experienced BKB fighters with tons of heart and ability to match. The added element to this, is the unique understanding of each others strengths and weaknesses, having sparred each other countless times. With this knowledge we are likely to see a technical slug-fest with tailored game plans to match. Plenty of level-changing and punch-picking is to be expected, but also moments of pure unrelenting chaos.Perhaps a fight we may never see, but certainly one we’d like to see, war is certain to ensue when Trezise and Connelly face off.
Disclaimer:Just to finish off, I want to ensure there is no intent of instigation here, this is simply speculation and both men have the right to refuse this fight.
Paul Hilz vs Robby Drought
Paul Hilz versus Robby Drought is an absolute steamer of a fight. With both men coming off losses at BKB 18, time wise, this could line up nicely. A Middleweight contest which could spell the future of either man, Robby Drought and Paul Hilz will put everything on the line for victory. The appeal of this contest is clear to see. Hilz the front-foot freight train will look to close the distance early and pile on the pressure. While Drought, will look to pick his punches, keep his guard tight and stick to his fundamentals. What we will likely see is a fight to the first punch in a battle decided on effective entry and break. With the depth of the Middleweight division, however, I’d be silly not to throw a few alternates into the mix. For Paul ‘The Brawler’ Hilz, BKB may well opt for a toe to toe tear-up with either Dom McConnell or Mitch Turner. Wow! What a couple of prospective bloodbaths! For Drought, they may well be looking for a hungry debutant, someone who can really take the fight to the Irishman, for this I’d opt for Dan McGraffin. Another cracking contest!
Paul Stredder vs Ben Gumbrell
Two men who tasted defeat at BKB 18, Paul Stredder and Ben Gumbrell could well find themselves matched up in the near future. For both men it was a bitter ending to fight night. Stredder was outed by a cut and Gumbrell a hotly debated decision. With redemption swimming in the minds of the fans and fighters alike, this make or break match-up is certain to produce fireworks. Besides the obvious must win nature of the contest, this is once again a fight built on styles. Stredder comes forward with bad intentions winging big shots yet maintaining good form and range. While Gumbrell is your archetypal counter-striker, pushing the work rate and forcing his opponents to walk onto his shots. This would certainly bode well for a match of epic proportions. Yet, again I will slot in a few alternates for variance. With Gumbrell on the lighter-side of Lightweight a change of weight class may be on the cards. In which case a match up with Robin Deakin at Featherweight may suffice. For Stredder the options at Lightweight are countless, of particular note is Jamie Oldfield, who too is coming of a loss, but has bags of potential.