I look at this fight as a big fight because it’s another British title shot for me and I desperately need to win it. It’s a big moment in my career for me. I’ve trained hard for it, I’ve taken myself away from my home and my comfort zone and I’ve really committed myself fully to this fight.
I haven’t just been going back and forth to Cardiff – I’ve stayed up there five days a week. I’ve had a proper training camp for once and I can feel the difference. My weight has come down really well, I feel good in the gym and I feel extremely fit.
Normally my career has gone like this: stay fit, keep ticking over and then get a call to fight three or four weeks out. They’ll say, ‘Nick, are you fit? We’ve got a fight for you if you’re ready for it.’ Of course, I’d always be ready, but I was never training for a particular opponent. I never really had two months to focus on a particular fight and get myself ready for it. That just wasn’t how my career panned out.
In the past I’d be two or two-and-a-half stone overweight trying to get my weight down in time for the fight. That would be my main focus in camp. I’d aim to get fit and lose weight. I never really had time to focus on game plans or technical stuff.
For this fight, though, I’ve had a good seven weeks to work on a game plan and technique. My fitness was already there when we began camp and my weight hasn’t been a problem this time. All in all, I’ve been in a great place. There’s no excuses for this fight. I couldn’t be in better condition.
I want to be involved in entertaining fights and I have no doubt this fight on Saturday will be an entertaining one. It’s not going to be an easy fight – I know that. John Ryder has lost in a British title fight as well, so he’s going to be just as determined and hungry as I am. He’s going to be the best John Ryder there’s ever been, just as I’m going to be the best Nick Blackwell there’s ever been.
We’re two fighters with quite similar styles. We both come forward, we’re both physically strong and we’re both tough and fit. People might say he has better boxing ability, but we’ll find out on the night. What I do know is that when two styles like ours come together, you have to expect a tough, gruelling and exciting fight. The fight can’t be anything else.
He might try to box a bit on the back foot, but I really can’t see that. It’s not what comes naturally to him. He likes to come forward and put pressure on his opponent. I’m going to take each round as it comes, win as many as I can, and if I see the stoppage, I’m going to take it. I just want to get that win. Then I can progress and move on. Everything is riding on this fight, so it doesn’t really matter how I win.
I see it being a great fight and, when the show is over, people will probably look back at it and say it was the best fight of the night.
*** 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 ***