A world-champion bare-knuckle boxer is ready to fight again after nearly dying from an incurable bowel disease.
Ricardo 'Bon Bon' Franco will fight again with a Ileostomy bag fitted after the potentially life-threatening condition saw his intestines removed, Grimsby Live reports.
It was only last November when the brawler became world super middleweight champion but months later he went from peak fitness to "rock bottom" as he was left bedridden by the condition ulcerative colitis when it flared up during lockdown.
He said: "The surgery has been completely life-changing for me. For the eight years I had ulcerative colitis, I had to deal with the pain and constantly rushing to the toilet, and just had to get used to living with it.
"Then about six months ago, it took a turn for the worst.
"I was bedridden for at least four months, and was constantly being taken into hospital.
"The doctors told me I couldn't put surgery off and I needed to have my bowels removed and an Ileostomy bag fitted. There was a risk that the intestines would rupture, which would be life-threatening.
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"It was awful to have crashed to the bottom like that – I went from the fittest that I had ever been to being really ill, and I was sitting with my thoughts all day about how I should be training.
"While I was waiting for surgery, coronavirus was a big concern as my immune system was basically zero at the time – and if I did catch it, I would have to wait even longer for surgery."
Now Ricardo has vowed to carry on his career after the surgery gave him a "new lease of life".
He added: "It's changed everything. My career's definitely not over.
"I can't fight MMA now due to the bag, but there is an American boxer with a bag so I know it is possible."
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