New champion Blackwell, renowned for his incredible fitness and strength, believes his experience over the 12-round distance will prove to be key next weekend, while Jones, yet to go beyond six rounds as a pro, feels such a claim will prove short-sighted.
“Nick has talked about setting a pace I won’t be able to match but we’ll have to wait and see,” he said. “I think he’s going to be in for a big shock if he thinks that’s the case. I won’t just be able to match his pace, I’ll also be able to dictate the pace and make him fight at my pace as well.
“We’ve done a lot more sparring and a lot more running for this one, and the championship distance doesn’t bother me. I know I’ve got it in the tank. Whether it goes 12 rounds or less, I know I’ve got the gas for it.
“I’ve got the height and reach over Nick and I’ve got the boxing skills to give him massive problems. And no matter what he brings to the table, I’ll have an answer for it. I’m prepared for everything he’s going to throw at me, and I expect there to be a lot of target to hit if he tries to force a pace.
“He’ll be different to how he’s been in the past, I’m sure. He’ll try different things and give me different looks. But it doesn’t matter what his game plan is. I’ll have a counter game plan to any game plan he brings. I’ve prepared 100%, I’ve left nothing in the gym and I’m raring to go.”
Just days away from his first major title fight, and his first appearance on terrestrial television (Blackwell vs. Jones can be watched LIVE on Channel 5 from 10pm), you’d be forgiven for thinking Jones was feeling the pressure of it all. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the confident 22-year-old couldn’t be happier with his role in the upcoming drama.
“There’s no pressure on me whatsoever,” he said. “Nick is the one who holds the belt and he’s the one who has the promoter behind him. I’m just coming in through the backdoor and taking his title. I’ve got no stresses, no pressure, and I’m ready for it. This is my chance to show everybody what I’m all about.
“Yes, it is a step up from my previous fights – I’ve been performing under the radar for a bit because I haven’t had a big promoter behind me – but now it’s time to show everybody why I’m stepping up and why I’ve decided to take this fight.”
*** 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 ***