Coach Danny Mitchell on Franco, Orsuliak and BKB Debut

Posted on Tuesday 26th March

Coach Danny Mitchell on Franco, Orsuliak

Coach Danny Mitchell on Franco, Orsuliak and BKB Debut


At BKB 16, Danny Mitchell, former UFC competitor will be cornering and have coached both Martin Orsuliak, who makes his BKB debut and Ricardo Franco, who’s in the semi-finals of the Prize Fighter tournament. While helping in preparation for the March 30th PPV card, it seems as though there’s potential we see ‘The Cheesecake Assassin’ Mitchell inside the BKB™ ring in the future.

Unfortunately, Mitchell is sitting out due to a slew of injuries, one being a motorcycle accident in Thailand just two years ago. While recovering, his focus is on his fighters and his gym.

Danny’s relationship with Franco is now 7-years strong, having worked alongside him since he was an amateur, and now holds 50+ professional fights, ranging from boxing, pro MMA and now bare knuckle boxing. Orsuliak, who is also trained by Mitchell came from Dolny Kubin, Slovakia, searching for a gym facility to call home. Recommended he be in contact with Mitchell, it was only a matter of time before Orsuliak was sleeping in the boxing gym, dedicated to his growth in combat sports.

“Rico (Ricardo Franco) has been working with me [for] 6 or 7 years now. Came to me an amateur in MMA with a few fights but has had 50+ fights now in all styles from boxing to pro MMA. He’s a tough game lad and a hard worker in the gym. Orsuliak came over from Slovakia and started looking for a place to train, my name was mentioned and he found me.” Danny Mitchell laughed and continues, “He used to sleep in the boxing gym and train every day. He is from a K1 background but prefers just to box. He’s had 11 gloved fights in total, winning 10 of those.”

Ahead of his BKB debut, which is all new to the Slovakian native, Michell touches on Orsuliak’s in-gym sparring sessions, and potential impact he’ll make on the newly legalized sport.

“Orsuliak is 23 years old and a tough bastard. I’ve seen him have some crazy fights and in some crazy sparring sessions. He is a natural puncher and he even ruptured a guy’s spleen in sparring, [and] that’s why we call him the ‘Slovak Hitman’”

Orsuliak will be fighting Rob Boardman in the opening fight of the night on March 30th.

His other friend, student and teammate, Franco will face off with Connor Tierney in the semi-finals of the Prize Fighter tournament. Currently undefeated with a 3-0 record, Mitchell says Franco is just getting started, also giving his predictions for the finals at BKB 17 in June.

“Rico is 3-0 moving into this fight and honestly he’s only just getting started. He’s had so many injuries before these BKB fights that we have hardly done any specific boxing training, its been more fitness stuff, but for this one, he’s done a lot more sparring and punching. Tierney is a good boxer with more of an amateur style so we will be looking to put the pressure on him and not let him get his game going. I reckon we will see Rico vs. Smudger in the final. Yorkshire boys do it best.”

Danny Mitchell hasn’t competed since 2017, coming off of a victory in professional mixed martial arts, technically knocking out Ben Schneider at CFSC 18. When asked the reasoning for being inactive in regards to competition, on top of numerous injuries sustained over the years, a rather serious motorbike accident would force Mitchell to sit on the sidelines and recover, followed by a back-injuring car crash.

“I’ve been out from numerous injuries that I’ve picked up over the years culminating in a motorbike accident in Thailand 2 years ago. Rico was actually there too and came off his bike and luckily wasn’t too hurt, but I cracked my head pretty good then went on to injure my back in a car accident too. I’ve put all my focus into the gym and I’ve now got over 50 fighters with 20 professionals on the team. Started a management company too, so I’m pretty busy!”

Now back to light training, but with a full plate managing and training 50 fighters, it’s unsure if we’ll see the man himself, Danny Mitchell step his foot back into hand-to-hand competition, but, there is potential with the proper time to recover, we could see ‘The Cheesecake Assassin’ compete in bare-knuckle boxing.

“You will have to wait and see for that one” Mitchell’s response when asked if he would compete in BKB in the future. “I’m back doing some light training now and have managed to get some sparring in with Rico to help him prepare for this one. I love fighting, it's been my life since I was a kid. [I] don’t want to flog a dead horse, but there’s probably a few left in the tank.”

In less than one week's time, BKB 16 will be live from the O2 in London, England. Headlined by Brad Pickett vs. Mark Handley, the pay-per-view fight card will feature four title fights, the semi-finals of the Prize Fighter tournament and the debut of Martin Orsuliak. Available on FITE tv, Sky tv, Virgin Media and Fox Sports Asia.

photo by: Getty Images
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