NICK Blackwell has thrown down the gauntlet to the domestic middleweight division after signing with one of the country’s top promoters.

Blackwell, 23, hasn’t been in the ring since April but says that he’s ready to step out of the shadows and become a household name after being snapped up by Mick Hennessy, the former manager of four-time world champion Carl Froch and current promoter of heavyweight star Tyson Fury.

The two-time British middleweight title challenger, from Trowbridge, who also suffered a controversial defeat to the then-European champion Max Bursak in Ukraine last year, reckons rivals such as Chris Eubank Jr won’t be able to avoid him for long as his career steps up to the next level.

“It’s time for me to stop fighting on little shows and being paid peanuts for it. I’m going to be fighting on Channel 5 with millions of people watching and I can’t wait,” said Blackwell, who has also taken on William Storey as his PR manager.

“This is what I’ve wanted to happen to me ever since I first set foot in the gym and it feels like that last eight years of hard work have started to pay off.

“When I met Mick, I could just tell that he knew his boxing and was a genuine guy. Hopefully, he got the same vibe from me because it felt like we clicked.

“He doesn’t have a problem with me fighting on other shows or even going out to the States. He knows that I won’t run from anyone and I’ll fight whoever’s put in front of me, especially any of my domestic rivals. I should be fighting in October.

“Someone like Eubank has turned me down twice but if I call him out on TV, I don’t think he’ll be able to say ‘no’ again.

“I’m working towards a world title. I’ve sparred with people at that level and I know where I’m at.”

‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell also says that his long-rumoured involvement in Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin’s training camp will come to fruition in September this year.

His Contender Gym trainer Mark Kent added: “Nick isn’t interested in prima donna boxers and he’s there to fight anyone. He’s still the mandatory challenger for the British title.

“Mick knows boxing and he’s got a great track record with the way that he took Carl Froch through the Super Six and brought through Tyson and Hughie Fury.”

Meanwhile, three new Contender Gym signings are set to make their pro debuts in Bristol later this year.

Southpaw super-featherweight Ryan Wheeler and welterweight Liam Hodson, both from Trowbridge, are due to fight at the Action Sports centre in October, along with light-middleweight Robert Brown.