A lot of people have seen me as high risk, low reward for a long time now, so when I found out I’d been mandated for the British title and that I’d be fighting John Ryder, it came as a huge relief. It was a guarantee. I knew I’d get the fight. There’d be no avoiding me.
After beating Ryder, I won’t just be seen as high risk, low reward. I’ll have the British title to my name – and that’s a massive reward.
For some reason, I knew I’d be fighting Ryder after Christmas. I just had a feeling he’d be The One. The Chris Eubank Jr fight came up again, as it always does, but I knew he would’t take that. Unsurprisingly, it fell through pretty much straight away. I then had the opportunity to fight Ryder for the British title and that was music to my ears.
I’m buzzing for it now. I’ve visualised fighting Ryder since the start of the year and am more than ready for it. I’ve done a lot of southpaw sparring since my last fight in November and it’s all been in preparation for this.
I train all year round, of course. I’m always fit to do ten or twelve rounds. But I had a feeling this fight with Ryder was on the horizon since the start of the New Year and knew I had to be prepared. It’s usually always last minute with me, so I was ready to jump into a fight whenever they said it was signed and sealed.
As soon as the fight was made, my diet became strict, I turned training up a notch and I had seven or eight weeks to add to all the stuff I already had in the bag. That’s all it was. It wasn’t like I just started training for this fight seven or eight weeks out. I’ve been training constantly since my last fight in November.
As for Ryder, I think he’s a little bit beneath the likes of Martin Murray and Billy Joe Saunders but still a very good fighter. His last couple of performances haven’t been great, but that’s probably because he was in there against opponents who were just trying to survive. It was hard for him to look good.
I know he’s a strong boy, he’s fit, he’s tough and he’s not a bad boxer. He’ll give me a tough fight. But I’ve never been in the ring with somebody who was too strong for me or too hard for me. I don’t see Ryder being able to push me around.
I reckon I can get to him mentally, too. I think I can break him once I start walking him down and pushing him back. I plan on putting a lot of pressure on him. And when he’s hitting me with the kind of shots he’s used to put other people away, and realises they aren’t having an impact, he’ll start to doubt himself. I’ll also be hitting him back.
Winning the British title at a massive venue like the O2 Arena is a dream come true. It doesn’t get much bigger than that in this country. Also, the May 30 card is a big bill with a lot of good fights on it. Hopefully I can go out there, make a statement and steal the show. I’m going to show John Ryder up on the big stage. I’m going to make him look levels below me.
*** Hennessy Sports’ Nick Blackwell fights John Ryder for the vacant British middleweight title on May 30 at the O2 Arena, LIVE on Sky Sports Box Office ***