Gainsborough fighter Ricardo Franco could be one punch away from £10,000 — or, rather, his girlfriend could be!
The £10,000 prize is up for grabs when Franco squares up to James Connelly in the final of the bareknuckle boxing ‘Prizefighter’ at London’s O2 Indigo Arena.
The winner on Saturday, 8th June will also get a shot at the world super-middleweight championship.
Franco says that if he wins, he will hand the prizemoney to his girlfriend, Shannon Thompson.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without her,” he said. “We have a mortgage and Shannon works full-time, which allows me to train full-time.
“Some weeks we don’t see each other very much, but Shannon supports me all the way.
“People don’t understand all the sacrifices I have to make to do this, but Shannon does and that makes a huge difference.
“I’m not really thinking too much about what I will do with the money if I win because all I’m thinking about is getting the win, but I will probably give it to Shannon and say: ‘Let’s go on holiday.’”
Franco reached the final with one of the best knockouts of the year in any combat sport.
He flattened Connor Tierney with a perfect left hook in March — and hopes to do the same to Connelly.
Franco said: “That punch landed right on the button, right on the sweet spot. I couldn’t have timed it any better.
“I was working on the combination in the changing room. It was a jab to the head, right to the body, then a left hook to the chin — and it couldn’t have landed any better.
“He was a tall, technical boxer and Connelly is the same. He will be expecting the same combination, so I will have to mix things up a bit. But from what I’ve seen of him, I think the left hook could work again. He leaves himself a bit open when he jabs and I should be quick enough to catch him.”
Franco also hopes victory in June will lead to a shot at the king of bareknuckle boxing, Jimmy Sweeney.
The Irishman is the sport’s number oneand has his last fight pencilled in for September.
He defends his world lightweight championship in June, but Franco hopes he will return to super-middleweight to face the winner of ‘Prizefighter.’
Franco said: “Ever since I started bareknuckle boxing, I wanted to fight Jimmy. I know he’s a legend, but I’m confident I will beat him.
“He’s coming near the end, while I’m 26 and in the best shape of my life. I just think this is my time.
“He has a great style for bareknuckle boxing, but I just think I will be too quick for him.
“I would love to test myself against him. That’s the fight I want.”