BOXING: Blackwell lands Euro title shot
NICK Blackwell is preparing himself for the fight of his life after he was lined up to challenge Ukrainian champion Max Bursak for the EBU middleweight title in his own back yard.
Two-time British title challenger Blackwell is set to embark on an Eastern European adventure in September to take on 29-year-old Bursak (27-1-1), who defended the European belt for the second time last month as he outpointed Lancashire fighter Prince Arron in Monaco.
Trowbridge’s ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell, who trains at the Contender Gym, is still planning to fight Czech Stepan Horvath at the town’s Civic Centre on September 27 and is confident that he’ll be parading an EBU title in front of his home crowd.
“I knew that I was the reserve in case Prince Arron pulled out of their fight so I thought I might have a chance of being next up for it and when I was I offered the fight, I didn’t have to think about it,” said the 22-year-old, who has won 13 of his 15 pro bouts so far.
“Max Bursak is the kind of fighter who’s perfect for me because he likes to come forward - it’s a massive opportunity.
“I’ll be going out there to fight in his back yard, in a hostile atmosphere, and I know that I’ll have to beat him in every single round. I’m not worried about it though, because as soon as you’re in the ring, you just block everything else out.
“Every fighter wants to win the British title outright because it’s the Lonsdale belt but winning a European title puts you on the path to winning world titles – hopefully, it’ll be third time lucky for me.
“I’m confident that I’m going to go out there and win and the plan is to then come back to Trowbridge, to fight the kiddy here, and have a European title with me.”
Blackwell’s trainer Mark Kent agrees that Bursak, who has also held the WBO inter-continental middleweight title, is the perfect opponent for his fighter.
“These European fighters like to come forward all of the time and with Nick’s strength, he’s absolutely made for him,” said Kent.
“He just won’t have the hand speed to deal with Nick.”
Blackwell was due to take on Horvath in Swindon, in June, but was forced out of that clash due to an injury picked up during sparring with IBF and WBA super-middleweight champion Carl Froch.
And Kent revealed that the Trowbridge fighter could have more world class sparring on the way after ‘Bang Bang’ was invited to trade blows with Kazakh star Genndy Golovkin in New York later this year.
The 31-year-old IBO and WBA middleweight title-holder has the greatest KO ratio in middleweight championship boxing of 88 per cent.
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