The talented 21-year-old, who last week celebrated his birthday, is unbeaten in 13 fights and has looked faultless to far in his three-year pro career. He has recently been named mandatory challenger for the English featherweight title, meaning a showdown with Jamie Speight will soon be on the horizon.
“I haven’t watched much of Speight, but he looks like a decent fighter and a tough man,” said Gill. “He’s been around the block and is experienced. It will be a good test for me – it won’t be easy. But I think I have the beating of him and my class will tell on the night. I believe that once my level of opposition increases, so too will my performances. You’ll see the best of me.
“The English title is a good start. I’ve just turned 21, so there’s no rush, but I want to be in the mix for domestic titles now. I believe I’m good enough. If I win the English title, it will give me a top ten ranking at featherweight and then I can start pushing for a British title shot.
“I’ve been very happy with my career so far. I’ve been progressing at the right pace and I’m learning a lot in the gym. I’m getting top quality sparring with the likes of Kid Galahad and Kell Brook. We even went over to America when Kell won the world title and I sparred Jorge Linares. Everything has been going smoothly.”
A product of the storied Wincobank gym in Sheffield, Gill routinely trains alongside the likes of Brook and Galahad and takes inspiration from both. Indeed, with champions to his left and right, he’s in good company – and has been since turning pro at 18.
“I wanted to turn pro early,” he said. “I had a good amateur career. I boxed for England and won a few national titles and I just felt the time was right. I could have gone to the World Championships – where Hughie Fury won gold – but I decided to turn pro and box on Kell Brook’s undercard. It’s been onwards and upwards from there. I feel I’ve served my apprenticeship now and am ready to step up.
“It’s good to train with Kell because we do exactly what he does in the gym. We know it works. Kell is proof that you can become a world champion if you work hard enough. What he’s achieved is incredible – going to America to win a world title. That’s inspiring for us.
“Every champion in the gym is inspiring because when we all first step into the gym the plan is to become a champion. Kell’s the main man to look up to right now and I want to emulate him in the future.”
*** Tickets for Blackwell vs. Jones can be purchased from the Derby Arena Box Office on 01332 255800 or by visiting www.derbylive.co.uk ***
*** Blackwell vs. Jones will be televised live on Channel 5 on July 25, while the supporting undercard will be televised live earlier in the evening on Spike ***