Leeds’ Damon Jones claims he will win the British middleweight title this Saturday (July 25) at Derby Arena in memory of his late father, Gareth, who sadly passed away last October.
The unbeaten challenger faces champion Nick Blackwell in what will be his first title fight and, despite a difficult last nine months, believes he has come to terms with his tragic loss and is more than ready to lift the Lonsdale belt.
“Mentally, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been,” said Jones, 13-0 (3 KOs). “I had a lot going on before my last fight (a technical decision win over Grant Cunningham in February). My father passed away in October and I wasn’t really in a good place, let alone in a good frame of mind to box. But I feel like I’m back in the right frame of mind and I couldn’t feel better, mentally, ahead of this fight with Blackwell.”
For a while Jones, 22, wondered whether he’d ever be able to box again. It certainly would never be the same again – not without his father by his side.
“My dad was a big inspiration in my life,” he said. “He was the person who got me into boxing. He never missed any of my fights. He’d travel up and down the country to take me to fights as an amateur and he continued to follow me and support me in the pros. He was the guy who was behind me 100% – a really supportive parent.”
Jones’ father had a terminal illness and, within a month of being diagnosed, tragically passed away.
“He went from a fifteen stone man to a seven stone man within the space of a month,” said Jones. “It was horrible to see.
“It was tough at the time – and it took some getting over – but now I’m doing it all for him. I’m boxing for him and I’ll be winning the British title on July 25 for him.
“I’ve had so much going on in the last year, and have had to overcome so much, there’s just no way I’m losing to Nick Blackwell. I’ve put everything into this fight and I’m not going home without that British title.
“My dad knows how much it means to me and he’ll be watching down with a lot of pride, I’m sure.”
*** 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 (10pm), while the supporting undercard will be televised live earlier in the evening (8pm) on Spike ***