Busy British middleweight champion Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell is intending to cut challenger Damon Jones down to size on July 25 in Derby and then swiftly book a well-deserved holiday.
The talented 24-year-old won the coveted Lonsdale title at the end of May – stopping the favoured John Ryder inside seven rounds at a sold-out O2 Arena – and is now all set to make his first defence just eight weeks later.
“I want to have the fight, retain my title and then look at having a holiday for a couple of weeks,” he said. “I haven’t had a holiday for six years now.
“I’ve literally been in the gym all the time – I’ll either be preparing for a fight that happens or preparing for a fight that never ended up happening. I had a couple of holidays booked but then had to cancel them when I was offered fight dates.
“I want to go somewhere that’s hot and has lots of stuff to do.”
Before he can dream of sunnier climes, Blackwell must first remain focused and do a professional job on the unbeaten Jones, a challenger who brings a tall, rangy southpaw style and an extensive amateur career.
“I’ve been sparring southpaws since November, so nothing’s changed really,” said Blackwell. “I’ve got a couple of tall southpaws in at the moment who are heavier than me. Everything has gone perfectly.
“I’m coming off the John Ryder fight and I was fit for that, so I’ve just got fitter and stronger in recent weeks. I don’t feel like I’ve overtrained, either. I feel even better now than what I did for the John Ryder fight. I’ve also been able to spend a little bit more time with Gary Lockett, which is important.”
Blackwell added: “I didn’t really know a lot about Jones at first. He’s been fighting on small hall shows and has flown under the radar a bit. But you can’t read too much into stuff like that. You can’t underestimate him based on that.”
Blackwell’s headline title defence at Derby Arena signals a sudden breakthrough moment in the Trowbridge man’s six-year pro career. Gone, it seems, are the days of short-notice fights against the promoter’s favourite.
“It’s mental,” said Nick. “When I signed with (promoter) Mick Hennessy, it was massive for me. I thought, great, I’m fighting on Channel 5. But now, less than a year later, I’m headlining an event on Channel 5. It’s crazy. It’s all happened so quickly.
“I’ve had a few knock-backs in my career but I’ve persevered and now I’m finally here. Now I don’t want to do something stupid and lose that title. That’s why I’m training harder than ever and why I’m hungrier than ever.”
*** 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 ***