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April 2, 2024

Knuckle Up News | BKFC 60: James Lilley vs Franco Tenaglia

The roots of bare-knuckle fighting run deep in the UK and whenever the leading BK promotion travels across the pond, it's all fireworks.

Three UK titles are on the line on April 6! Not to be confused with undisputed titles, these are belts that are won and held by the very best BK fighters fighting out of the UK. James Lilley vs Franco Tenaglia (UK LW Title), Danny Christie vs David Round (UK LHW Title) & Gary Fox vs Ellis Shepherd (UK FW Title) are all on the slate and we are in for a hell of a time! There are a lot of fights to run through so this will be brief, but look for much more betting analysis including an article written on BKFC.com's homepage close to fight night and hopefully some more content coming in regard to betting! Happy Easter if you celebrate and let's get into these fights!

James Lilley vs Franco Tenaglia
Lightweight UK Title Main Event

James Lilley fought Luis Palomino last while Franco Tenaglia last faced the 2-2 Luke Nevin. It's 1000% undeniable that Lilley has faced the higher level of competition and his only L to date was delivered by ‘The Baboon.' Both guys are so similar in their strikes landed vs absorbed with both men being very active but pretty inaccurate. Look for the activity to continue here and there will be quite a few strikes thrown by both fighters until someone gets finished. I see more stopping power coming by the Welshman in Lilley but the Argintinian has a granite chin that has never been cracked in BK. Tenaglia was TKO'ed in MMA late in September of 2023 by an undefeated Spaniard, Theo Bashford. Keep that in mind when heading to the window. Lilley should be favored around at least -150 but around -350 I would be cautious.

Danny Christie vs David Round
Light Heavyweight UK Title Co-Main Event

Danny Christie is a bad man in the Squared Circle. He has spoken about how he is disgusted when he sees people quit on themselves in there and has looked dominant until he ran into Jared Warren who very well could be a BKFC champion in the future. After he tasted defeat for the first time, he considered retiring and that's a massive red flag. He is facing the always game David Round who has a ton of combat sports experience, possibly more than Christie. With a professional MMA record of 17-29, Round has mentioned that he is closing in on 100 fights. We have to assume he is telling the truth there and that would mean many of his fights were on the underground scene. Christie will be favored here and with the bullying style and with the hard fact that David Round has been out-landed in every one of his BKFC fights, this could spell big trouble if he lets Christie outland him.

Gary Fox vs Ellis Shepherd
Featherweight UK Title bout

This is a fairly late notice fight for Ellis Shepherd. We forget how grueling five, two-minute rounds can be on these athletes and that can not go overlooked. Ellis eats clean in and out of camp and you can only see a single photo of him on social media where he is enjoying a glass of wine so I'm thinking he is in excellent shape. Still, this is a tall task against a patient but aggressive power-puncher who started his BK career at welterweight in Fox. Ellis is going to be less accurate and less powerful on the evening and it's worth mentioning that Fox's original opponent was meant to be John Hick who defeated Ellis in 2022. Fox should be favored but no matter who comes out victorious on April 6, this should be a back and forth war that has a high likelihood of going the distance.

Chaz Wasserman vs Matty Hodgson
Light Heavyweight Bout

The last non-title fight of the evening is going to end in a knockout. Wasserman is very low volume but powerful and Hodgson is powerful, accurate and high volume. By my words, it may seem like I'm pushing you in the direction of Hodgson but it's complicated. Wasserman cannot be underestimated with the competition he's faced outside of the BKFC including the UFC's Themba Gorimbo. That's the guy that the Rock bought a house for and knocked out Pete Rodriguez less than a minute into his last fight. Hodgson won't allow this fight to go long whether he wins or loses as no other fight of his has ever seen the final bell. Expect a round four or five knockout by one of these savages and both standing at just over six feet tall, they are more evenly matched than the odds may indicate. I picture Hodgson as the favorite but I could be way off there having not seen the lines yet.

Jonno Chipchase vs Robbie Brown
Bantamweight Bout

We get to watch two absolute killers here at 135! Neither of these two is much for fighting conservatively and both have a proven ability to make their opponent uncomfortable. Despite being smaller guys, this is the "unstoppable force meets an immovable object," fight of the night. Both fighters have hate in their hearts when they toe the line but Chipchase has an aggression and toughness edge. Both fighters can be accused of being low volume but on the Brown side, he will be the more technical and accurate with his punches. Picking a side here is tough and the line should be very tight. Don't be surprised if we get a pick'em. If you like the aggressive, mean side, go with Chipchase and if you like the sniper like accuracy, go with Brown.

Dawid Oskar vs Conor Cooke
Cruiserweight Bout

Conor Cooke has looked unstoppable in the BKFC and has gone on similar runs in other combat sports like traditional boxing, where he's undefeated at 3-0-0 and MMA where he became a champion. Irish MMA is fairly high level but not as much as people may imagine with stars like Conor Mcgreggor and Ian Garry. Cooke has won an MMA title nonetheless. Dawid Oskar is a big, tough Polish fighter who likes to counter punch and fight from the outside but he will pressure forward. Interestingly, Cooke has a very similar style but will enjoy a considerable height and reach advantage while also possessing a deeper bag of skills. Cooke should be favored here by possibly 2-1 and the line would make sense despite Oskar being a knockout threat against anyone he stands across from.

Danny McIntosh vs Rob Boardman
Cruiserweight Bout

Two exceptional boxers toe the line and this is a great fight flying under the radar! Both fighters also bring previous bare-knuckle experience into the Squared Circle with double the fights under Boardman's belt (4 fights to 2 fights.) Boardman has not lost a fight in his combat sports career sitting at 10-0 with a total of four KOs, most in BK fighting. McIntosh has fought the higher level of competition and scored more knockouts doing so but he doesn't have that shiny "0" in his loss column. The power of McIntosh may not matter against the defensively sound style of Boardman and this fight has a high likelihood of going the distance. If you get a chance to view tape on either of these fighters, you'll see how much better Boardman looks but again remember the competition level. Especially in traditional boxing, fighters get reputations of taking easy matchups to keep their undefeated record all the way up to a big payday fight. Very competitive fight on paper and unless I missed something big, this will be tightly lined with Boardman being a small favorite making this a difficult fight to bet. If this line is overly wide (-250 or more for Boardman) no one's going to look at you funny taking the dog.

Ben Bonner vs Ray Putterill
Lightweight Bout

In another great matchup, we have two very accurate strikers with some solid power for the lightweight division. Ben Bonner is 1-1 in the promotion and will be the cleaner striker here but he's facing an intense, come-forward powerhouse in Putterill. Watch the spotlight on Putterill at BKFC.com to get an idea of how he wants to fight on April 6. He's going to look to come forward and throw bombs until Bonner drops. He's not going to be concerned about Bonner's very real power and that might be a big mistake for the southpaw. Expect a lot of dirty boxing coming from Putterill and Bonner trying to keep this fight at distance to avoid fighting Putterill's fight. Bonner has a habit of throwing almost exclusively body shots from the clinch and that's going to leave his head wide open for Putterill. I can see this fight going long with Bonner being softened up over six to eight minutes and then making a bad decision late in the fight. I can also see Bonner catching Putterill early when he's crashing the pocket. The longer the fight goes, I tend to favor Putterill in a fight of attrition.


Middleweights clash in the featured prelim of the night and this is a tale of two styles. While Marcus Pond can have a volatile style he is more of a technical boxer from range really utilizing his jab. Toby Bindon goes by ‘Wardog' and leans a little too much into chaos for my liking in this matchup. I say it all the time, box a brawler, brawl a boxer and Bindon is your brawler here and he's got an upside down record because of it. If and only if, Pond can stay calm in the fire and pump out that jab to bust up ‘Wardog's' face he will outclass Bindon here. Bindon bleeds easily and we know that cuts can often end fights in the BKFC but he is as game as they come and can wear out the technical fighter for what I would assume would be an upset win.

This seems very straightforward on paper but paper aint the fight. Jack Draper has been around bare-knuckle fighting literally since he was a kid. Because of that experience, he can sometimes be favored when he shouldn't be like in his debut fight against the much taller and more athletic Robbie Kennedy. He closed at a -500 there and at the time I couldn't understand why. He will likely close around the same price and I can understand the logic this time. Bubu is built like a refrigerator and is quite intimidating at first glance. You look into his record though and he leaves a lot to be desired having a combat sports record of 0-10 across four sports. Draper is not going to respect the power of Bubu and that could backfire but he should be the faster and more accurate fighter here and might be a massive favorite. Always be careful with wide lines!

There's a lot going on here despite this just seeming like a low level prelim fight to get things going. Bartek Kanabey is the better fighter here but he is a two week, short notice replacement. He is filling in for a fighter he beat by split decision in Shaun Kissane. Shaun Kissane vs Bakhtyor Kudratov would have been equally as fun but the element of the unknown is arguably more exciting here. I would have chosen Kissane in the original matchup but now this is as close to a pick'em as you can get with the limited information we have on Kudratov. I would just side with the dog here, whoever that ends up being because of all of that unknown information and the narrow margins for victory in this matchup.

Written by Ryan Dean
*Fight card subject to change