LONDON (21 JULY) Reigning British middleweight champion Nick Blackwell one day hopes to win a version of the world middleweight title, but knows such plans will go up in smoke should he lose his Lonsdale belt to Damon Jones on July 25 at Derby Arena.
Still, the talented 24-year-old is allowing himself to dream big and is encouraged by the upcoming WBO world middleweight title fight between Ireland’s Andy Lee and England’s Billy Joe Saunders.
“I’m really looking forward to the fight,” said Blackwell. “They’re both middleweights and they could both be future opponents for me.
“Billy Joe is the better technical boxer. He’s a lot busier. But I think Andy Lee is the one who holds the genuine power and he’s shown that in his last couple of fights. He can be getting outboxed for periods in a fight and then he lands that one punch and it changes the course of the fight completely.
“Billy Joe is going to have to be 12-round fit for this one. I know he can stay switched on and smooth for five or six rounds, but then he can get ragged and make the occasional silly mistake as the fight progresses. If he does that with Andy Lee, he’ll be made to pay. Andy Lee hits hard enough to knock him out.
“I think Billy Joe will win on points or Andy Lee will win by knockout.”
Blackwell concedes he’s still a little way off competing for world titles, but knows that his position as British middleweight champion could prove important in a division chock-full of world-class Brits.
“The whole middleweight division is booming at the moment and there’s a ton of British interest at world-level,” he said. “It’s the division to be in right now. There’s some cracking fights to be made and Andy Lee vs. Billy Joe Saunders is just one of them.
“Further down the line I’d love to get a shot at that WBO title – or any world title – but, at the minute, I’ve still got a lot to learn and I’m still young and progressing. It’s definitely something I want in the future, though.
“When I watch Lee and Saunders fight in September, I’ll definitely be thinking, that could be me fighting either of these for the WBO title one day. It’s mental how quickly things change in boxing. This time last year I hadn’t even signed with Mick Hennessy and now I’m British middleweight champion and headlining a bill on Channel 5. Imagine where I’ll be this time next year.
“I’ve got to focus on Damon Jones for now and get that fight over and done with. Then I can sit down and watch Lee and Saunders do their thing and imagine one day fighting for the world title.”
*** 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 on Spike (8pm) ***