BOXING: Second chance
NICK Blackwell has his sights firmly set on another shot at the British middleweight title.
The 21-year-old, from Trowbridge, bravely went up against the now-world title-challenging Martin Murray for the domestic belt in June 2011, suffering the only pro defeat of his career so far.
But with unbeaten St Helens man Murray expected to relinquish his title ahead of his next test, Blackwell is hoping to be first in line for a shot at the Lonsdale belt.
Unbeaten Hertfordshire fighter Billy Joe Saunders has also expressed his desire to compete for the British title, after he defended his Commonwealth belt by beating Jarrod Fletcher in just two rounds last Friday, and Blackwell says that a meeting with the former Olympic contender would make for an exciting clash.
“It feels like ages since I’ve been in the ring but fingers crossed that my next fight will be a shot at the British title,” said ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell, whose last outing was his WBC Youth Silver title victory over Mikehil Khutsishvili in May.
“I’ve been keeping myself ticking over and I’m feeling sharper and better than I ever have done before, so I’m ready for another big fight.
I’ve been keeping myself ticking over and I’m feeling sharper and better than I ever have done before, so I’m ready for another big fightNick Blackwell
“Martin Murray is going to be letting the belt go and I’ve heard that I should be next in line for it.
“I know that Billy Joe Saunders also wants to fight for it and he defended his Commonwealth title the other day, so I think it would be a great fight if it ended up being between us two.”
Blackwell is still expected to be the British Boxing Board of Control’s middleweight nomination for the WBC World Cup but with the start of that international tournament delayed until next February, the Trowbridge champion has switched his focus back to domestic matters.
In a quest to hone his ring skills, ‘Bang Bang’ has lined up sparring sessions with two of British boxing’s biggest names in IBF, super-middleweight champion Carl Froch and WBO light-heavyweight title-holder Nathan Cleverly.
Blackwell added: “Those guys are both world class fighters and it’s something to look forward to, so I can’t wait to go up and spar with them.
“I’ve been trying to make sure that I spar with as many good boxers as I can and I’ve been against Jamie Cox (Commonwealth light-middleweight champion) in Swindon and a really good ABA light-heavyweight as well.
“I should also be sparring with Brian Magee (interim WBA World super-middleweight title-holder) too.”
FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @WTSport