Ricardo Franco,Jean Carlos Prada? Jimmy Sweeney Doesn’t Care
With Ricardo Franco out until November, Jimmy Sweeney will now welcome Jean Carlos Prada to the world of bare-knuckle boxing, a former Olympic athlete who makes his debut at BKB 18. ‘The Celtic Warrior’ also details his brawl with Puerta, his massive weight-cut and a future bout with Ricardo Franco.
At BKB 17 this past June, Jimmy Sweeney made his long-awaited return to the bare-knuckle boxing ring, putting on a back and forth brawl with former WBC champion, Edgar Puerta.
Victorious in his return, Sweeney’s original plan was to fight Puerta and then the winner of the ‘PrizeFighter’ tournament, but things have since changed.
Having now signed an extended two-year contract, ‘The Celtic Warrior’ will look to remain as active as possible within his remaining time and is now faced with a new task at BKB 18.
Jimmy was ready for retirement, however, with the rapid growth of bare-knuckle boxing, BKBtm co-owners, Jim Freeman and Joe Smith saw potential, and from there, it was only a matter of realization. It didn’t take long for Sweeney to sign the dotted line.
“My intention was to retire after I beat Franco, but I was hijacked by Jim and Joe in my hotel room the day of my fight with Puerta (June 8th, 2019), and they just basically said to me ‘look, Jimmy, you've been with us four years and have done so much to help this sport grow. Now you're starting to get recognized world-wide, and it would be a shame to retire when this sport is just getting all this media attention.’ I had a good think about what they said to me”, Sweeney said then continued. “and thought yeah, they’re actually right, and I'm in this game to leave a legacy. I want to be known as the best that ever did it, so (I) said fuck it, I've got a bit left to give this game.”
At first, the plan was to immediately fight and defend his title against the tournament winner, Ricardo Franco, but after three back-to-back camps, Franco as opted out of the fight as he looks to recover, rest and repair, aiming to get his bout with Sweeney on the following show in November. With that, a new challenge arises.
Jean Carlos Prada, Venezuela native, will make his BKB debut this September 14th, challenging Sweeney for his world title. With 36 wins, JCP holds a total of 25 knockouts and a long boxing resume. Like Puerta, this comes as another high-level boxer looking to test his hands at gloveless combat, which proved to be Sweeney’s toughest test to date.
“The fight with Edgar definitely was my toughest fight so far in BKB, especially with losing 22kgs (48.5lbs) for that fight, which drained me.” ‘The Celtic Warrior’ Sweeney continued, “No it didn't play out as I had thought, because I honestly thought I was going to go in there and blast Edgar out in a few rounds, but he's a tough lad and very an experienced boxer. After a couple of rounds, I knew I was going to be in for a long night. I boxed very well, winning the first two rounds easy, but then getting caught with an absolute peach of a right hand in the third round that would have finished most fighters, but I got back up, showing the heart I have and ended up dropping Edgar twice in that round. I absolutely destroyed my hands in the process, but after I thought to myself “Jimmy, what are you doing, your boxing is better than this kids, so get on the back foot and box.” And that’s what I did, and came away with the win.”
Sweeney further elaborated, touching on his new, potentially greatest challenge to date in Carlos Prada. Though ‘The Celtic Warrior’ isn’t looking past any task, his plan is to set his legacy in stone as the greatest bare-knuckle boxer of all time, and with that, he must beat his now BKB 18 opponent, and Ricardo Franco at BKB 19, which is already in the works to be scheduled.
“With my fight with (Ricardo) Franco being put back until November (BKB 19), I needed another opponent, and after fighting an ex-pro world champion, I wanted an opponent that was just as experienced. Jim (co-owner of BKBtm) has found a guy that I think will give me my toughest fight. (Jean Carlos) Prada is coming into this sport with a great boxing pedigree, having fought in the Olympics and medaled in the pan American games. He also fought for the WBO world title. This lad is a tall southpaw and is a big banger, so he's going to be very dangerous. I'm going to have to be fully focused from the first ball, and not take my mind off my opponent as I did with Puerta, because if I do, I could be in trouble.”
“I think my boxing will be key to winning this fight. I need to get that jab going from the start, and if I can get it going right, it'll make it an easier night for me. I’m looking forward to this fight and claiming another victory against top opposition, helping to cement my place as the greatest this sport has ever seen.”
As mentioned by the three-division champion, Sweeney, ahead of his BKB 17 bout, he had undergone a massive weight-cut, which was a product of him stepping away from the sport late last year. He details his weigh-loss and training camp just before he goes back into preparing for the up-and-coming BKB 18 event.
“I had a massive weight cut for that fight (with Puerta). I started camp 94kg, nine-weeks out from my fight, so I knew that camp would be just basically weight cutting, so that's what I focused on. I neglected my boxing for that camp, although I got a small bit of sparring in, it wasn't as much as I should have done. In that nine-weeks, I never had a day off. I trained everyday, sometimes up to five-hours a day. Two sessions with my morning sessions, I'd just walked on the treadmill with it on full gradient for over two-hours, and it got to a point where I absolutely hated them sessions. They were the most boring sessions ever. I'm keeping an eye on my weight now out of camp, trying not to get too heavy and get a few runs in a week just to keep myself ticking and come into camp not having to kill myself losing weight. This time, I’ll have more concentration on my boxing abilities.”
Prior to June 8th, the night of BKB 17 at the O2 in London, England, Sweeney gave his predictions on the ‘PrizeFighter’ final, and much to his surprise, things took an interesting turn.
His prediction was; James Connelly if it went to decision, Ricardo Franco if there was a TKO or KO stoppage. In the end, Franco earned himself the unanimous decision, which ultimately shows his versatility in the ring, and again, bringing much surprise to the current champion.
Franco’s fight with Connelly would end up being the FOTN (Fight of the Night) at the promotions 17th show.
Originally set to square off with the now first ‘PrizeFighter’ winner, Sweeney gave his thoughts on his future challenger following their BKB 17 performances.
“Franco is a decent fighter and a tough lad. He’s done well on winning ‘PrizeFighter’, and we were supposed to fight in September but he decided to take a break which is well deserved. I'll let him enjoy his break before I show him why I am the king of BKB.”
To be the ‘King of BKB’ you must beat the ‘King of BKB’, and on September 14th and November 16th, both Jean Carlos Prada and Ricardo Franco will receive their opportunities to do so.
Tickets on sale now.