UFC veteran Will “The Kill” Chope returns to action this Saturday to compete in BKB 16, a bare-knuckle boxing contest, against veteran boxer Barrie Jones in what will be his 108th professional fight.
The 28-year-old prizefighter is one of the most respected fighters in the business and has fought under MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai and Leth Wei rules as a professional.
In January he ventured into the world of bare knuckles for his maiden contest for BKB and won a seven-round decision having been crumpled to the floor in the first round.
It was a baptism of fire, but in typical Will Chope fashion he showed guts and determination to get up and went on to methodically pick-apart his game opponent Sofiane Benchora.
“One punch can really change the game and every shot does hurt,” he said. “So taking a shot to give a shot is not a good plan I learned.”
“The biggest difference with BKB is their ring is very small, so it forces the action. The shorter, two-minute rounds and the smaller ring force a very high-paced fight.”
Despite the conditions which are designed to encourage wild warfare, Chope showed maturity in his first contest and was measured, picking his shots and avoiding the dogfight which his opponent so desperately wanted.
“When you hit your opponent’s skull or elbow when going to the body, you hurt your own hands,” he said. “So, although it’s a crazy fight I think being calm, patient and accurate are key.”
The fight game’s Mr Active has already firmed-up his next two fights following this Saturday’s bout in London.
On May 4th he will fight MMA in Pescara, Italy for Fight Clubbing and then, damage permitting, he will go right into a Lethwei rules fight on May 17th in Tokyo, Japan for the ILFJ (International Lethwei Federation Japan).
First, he must overcome a formidable challenge against Barrie Jones, who had a 22-10 pro boxing record and fought the likes of Kell Brook and Liam Smith in a highly successful boxing career before switching to BKB last September.
Jones’s original opponent pulled-out so they gave “The Kill” the call and Chope was more than happy to oblige. “As cliché as it sounds, most fighters fight to live, but I really live to fight,” Chope said.
“Any chance to travel and earn money doing what I love is a great opportunity.”
Chope admitted he will adjust his game slightly following his tough first-round lesson last time out. “I can’t start slow!” he said. “I have to fight hard and fast right from when the bell rings.”
BKB 16 takes place on Saturday, March 30th at 7pm in London and features the UFC veteran Brad Pickett in the main event against Mark Hanley.