Perhaps the most difficult list we will ever compile here on ‘Toe The Line’, today we look at the best of the best under the UBBAD banner as we bring you the ‘Top 10 Greatest BKB Fights Of All Time’. Before commencement, it’s important to note this list is entirely subjective and is by no means conclusive, therefore we’d love to hear who you think should have made it in the comments below.
10. Melvin Guillard vs Leighton Brady- BKB 8
First up we have a classic contest from BKB 8. A fight which may have flown under the radar for many when assembling their lists, Guillard vs Brady was an absolute barn burner for as long as it lasted. Coming into the contest Guillard was looking for something to prove after suffering back to back losses to Jimmy Sweeney at BKB 6 and 7. This Combined with Brady’s no-nonsense style and desire to put everything on the line to impress in his BKB debut paved the way for a real scorcher of a fight. Quite frankly it had it all, back and back forth action, plenty of knockdowns and a pace which never seemed to give up. In the end, it was Guillard who walked away victorious with a finish in the third round but not before being dropped twice himself as Brady gained the respect of the Bare Knuckle world that night.
9. Jimmy Sweeney vs Sean George- BKB 13
Arguably Sweeney’s most impressive performance, Jimmy Sweeney vs Sean George was a super technical chess match which is a must-see for all BKB fans. In what may go down in history as the most anticipated BKB fight of all time, Jimmy Sweeney silenced the critics as he shut out the consensus number two in the world on route to securing his second BKB world title. The quality was of the highest grading right from the get-go with both men landing their fair share of meaningful strikes in this hotly contested bout. Ultimately it was Sweeney who got away the cleaner strikes with his jab and elusive footwork proving to be the decider coming into the final round. With George behind but by no means out of the contest, the Welshman came forwards in the seventh looking to land. However, Sweeney had other ideas as he sent George to the canvas early with a stunning right hand before finishing the fight seconds later with a flurry of beautiful strikes.
8. Tony Lafferty vs Scott McHugh- BKB 13
If you are looking for a fight that will turn your chair into a stool look no further than Tony Lafferty vs Scott McHugh. This fight defines the phrase “You don’t play BKB” and rightly so. To set the scene for you, Lafferty had just suffered his first loss inside the BKB ring against Tyler Goodjohn at BKB 11 and McHugh was making his company debut in the age-old dark horse formula. Right from the get-go both men came forwards in a ferocious tear up that saw an inexperienced McHugh dropped twice in quick succession. Yet McHugh virtually unphased by the power of Lafferty kept coming forwards and provided us with several memorable exchanges that sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. In the end, it was Lafferty who took the decision victory and rightly so as he made effective use of head movement and hooks. No doubt a fight I’d like to see again in the future considering McHugh’s advancements in the game, this fight is a testament to the crazy world of BKB.
7. Jimmy Sweeney vs Julian Lane II- BKB 10
The fight that made the Jimmy Sweeney we know today, Sweeney vs Lane II was the hotly anticipated rematch that did not disappoint. After suffering his first and only loss inside the BKB ring Jimmy Sweeney came back looking for revenge, after neglecting his training and lifestyle leading up to their first bout. Sweeney looked a completely different man from before, doubling up on the jab and making Lane miss in a classy performance that frustrated his opponent to the core. At the end of the contest, it was five rounds to Sweeney as he tarnished any doubts of his claim to being the greatest of all time. A fight to be watched by all students of the game, Sweeney’s defensive masterclass makes number seven on our list.
6. Daniel Lerwell vs CJ Mills- BKB 16
Now if Tony Lafferty vs Scott McHugh wasn’t crazy enough for you, try Daniel Lerwell vs CJ Mills. This fight saw six knockdowns in total and went from volume striker versus counter striker to brawler versus brawler as both men stood toe to toe and threw everything and the kitchen sink at one another. In the end, it was Lerwell who would land the finisher, with a combination straight out of the depths of hell sending Mills down and out in one of the most brutal knockouts in the history of the sport. This statement victory undoubtedly cemented Lerwell as one of the hardest hitters in the sport and sent shockwaves across the BKB roster. Lerwell is a man on a mission and should not be underestimated, you have been warned.
5. Jimmy Sweeney vs Edgar Puerta- BKB 17
Another entry for Jimmy Sweeney, this time it is his lightweight title fight against former WBC Silver Super Featherweight Champion, Edgar Puerta. This fight was awesome and just goes to show the standard of competition at BKB where World-class Bare Knuckle Boxing has become commonplace. I have in the past called this ‘the most technically brilliant display of Bare Knuckle Boxing ever’ and after re-watching this one several times, my opinion remains unwavering. After a fast-paced opener, we were treated to perhaps the greatest round in BKB history at the third as Sweeney was sent to the canvas by a right hand before picking himself up and dropping Puerta twice. After this explosive round, Sweeney turned on the style, mixing up his strikes as he bobbed and weaved his way to victory. For those who question the standard of this sport, I urge you to watch this fight.
4. Tyler Goodjohn vs Tony Lafferty- BKB 11
Next up is the debut of former English Super Lightweight Champion and ‘Prince Of BKB’ Tyler Goodjohn, who faced Tony Lafferty in one of my all-time favourite fights at BKB 11. Whenever I’m introducing the sport to anyone, this is always the fight I whip out as it perfectly combines the raw brutality and artistic excellence we have come to expect from Bare Knuckle Boxing. A fight of the highest calibre, both men toed the line in a brawl for the ages. The first round was Lafferty’s on the scorecards after making good use of body shots and not allowing Goodjohn to settle. Yet back came Goodjohn, scoring a big knockdown courtesy of a well-timed right in the second before furthering his lead in the third and fourth with crisp boxing and top-notch head movement. In the fifth Goodjohn found his finish after the referee had to save Lafferty from himself who refused to stay down. So much heart shown by both men particularly Lafferty who never gave up and got back up from that hellish overhand right from Goojohn in the final round.
3. Kris Trezise vs Smudger Smith- BKB 14
Another Bare Knuckle war to quench your thirst, Smudger Smith vs Kris Trezise is pure BKB action at it’s finest. Blood splattered mouth guards, Vaseline ridden eye sockets and colossal cuts were a take away from this one, yet the real story was one of pride, will and determination. A gutsy display from both, to say they enjoyed it would be an understatement as the two beat the seven bells out of each other with smiles on their faces for five gruelling rounds. Smudger seemed the sharper man to begin with landing some nasty counters which wobbled Kris on more than one occasion. Yet as the fight progressed so did Trezise, striking first and piling on the intensity as he would go on to drop Smith three times before the referee stepped in at the fifth and final round.
2. Sean George vs Kevin Bennett- UBBAD Summer Square Off
An old school slugger only the most die-hard of fans will remember, Sean George vs Kevin Bennett is the best fight of the pre-BKB trademark era. Back to a time when even Sean George was relatively young in the game, the vacant UBBAD lightweight title was on the line as George faced off against former gloved Commonwealth Champion Kevin Bennett. In a contest which was set to see fireworks, few could have expected just how breathtaking this one would be. Both men came into the fight looking to out-box one another and land that coveted killer blow, yet neither man faltered and to the disbelief of many both remained standing at the death. Bennett came out the winner on the night, slightly edging the output and landing some truly brutal hooks which could have put down far larger men than George were it not for his impenetrable chin.
1. Ricardo Franco vs James Connelly- BKB 17
Could it have been any other fight? Well perhaps it could have been, but nevertheless, the Prizefighter final between Ricardo Franco and James Connelly tops our list. The very definition of a technical slugfest both men left everything in the ring that night and had the crowd on their feet from beginning to end as the intensity never gave up. A fluid contest which saw hard shot after hard shot land, neither man would take a knee in an impressive display of heart and chin. As is the nature of these type of fights, it was always going to come down to who tired first. For Connelly, he was the man who ever so slightly faded in the closing rounds yet never gave in regardless. In the end, I thought the scoring was a lot closer than the judges gave it, yet the decision was the right one with Ricardo edging it off the utilization of body shots and superior numbers.