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Conor Cooke Lays Bare Reasons Behind Bare Knuckle Move

Its simple, bare knuckle boxing offers Conor Cooke [3(1)-0] what boxing can’t, the chance to box!

The Antrim fighter becomes the latest Irish fighter to let his hands go without gloves when he fights on Ireland’s first BKB Show this coming Friday night.

‘Da Crooke’ fights Robbie Drought for the Irish Championship in Belfast.

Cooke makes the move because boxing was delivering more heartache than it was fights and BKB can quench his thirst for action.

The former Boxing Ireland fighter had been vocal about being ready to take on all boxing comers but just couldn’t get any momentum going.

After pushing to 3-0 he saw FIVE agreed fights fall through including a shot at Welsh champion Nathan Thorley [14(6)-0]- and after an abundance of setbacks, he decided to take a bare knuckle offer.

“I was starting to think my boxing career was over before it really began,” he explains when talking to Irish-boxing.com.

“I had fight after fight after fight cancel on me. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing,” he adds before going into how the BKB link-up came about.

“I thought about bare knuckle a small bit and then out of the blue I got a mail from a fella I know, he sent me a screenshot of a guy looking for a fighter to replace his opponent who pulled out on their bare knuckle boxing fight. I was put off by the weight, the fight was at 85kgand I was sitting around 94kg +. But then I contacted the promoter Robbie and said I was interested in fighting. It just went from there.”

It’s a move most fight fans sympathize with but still lament, Crooke understands that, but feels there was no alternative if he wanted to see combat action.

“To be absolutely honest bare knuckle is offering a chance to fight. That’s simply it. I wanted to fight badly and was getting frustrated with my amount of set backs. To be honest I probably would have fought in any combat sport if the opportunity presented itself.

“I’m here to keep active and to keep relevant. It’s hard getting ready for a fight then for it to be taken away. It’s hard physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. That’s happened to me five times in a row. There’s nothing else I could have done to get a fight sorted. This bare knuckle was a God send. I really needed something,” he adds before revealing he hasn’t completely closed the door on boxing.

“This might it be a one-off or a new career I don’t know yet. But I definitely will return to boxing, I just don’t know how or when. I would love a real good run at pro boxing again. I really want an Irish title shot. I’m out of contract at the minute but I’ve had no one approach me. I don’t really have a team around me. So it’s kind of hard for me to get back to boxing. But if the opportunity pops up and it makes sense then I’m sure I’ll take full advantage of that.”

Discussing his upcoming clash, Cooke expects to be in more danger when he steps into the ring – but says he is ready for that.

“It will be a lot more dangerous, and there is a bigger chance of getting a bad cut or two. But I know what I have agreed to, and I’m more than mentally and physically prepared for the outcome. He also suggests xx will feel the brunt of all the frustration he built up over recent years.

“I’m expecting to win. I don’t go into any fight with any less of a prediction. You can expect fireworks and more explosive me this time around. I feel like I have a lot to catch up on and I want to prove I’m still a very dangerous and capable fighter.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com