BOXING: Blackwell to make second bid for British title
TROWBRIDGE middleweight Nick Blackwell is poised for a second crack at the British title in December when he takes on former Olympian Billy-Joe Saunders in London.
'Bang Bang' Blackwell and unbeaten Saunders will meet over 12 rounds at the ExCel Arena in Docklands on December 15, with the Hertfordshire man's Commonwealth belt also expected to be up for grabs.
The fight, promoted by Frank Warren, will be part of a bill that includes WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns, Swindon's Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Jamie Cox and reigning British and Commonwealth super middleweight title holder George Groves and is likely to be shown on Warren's BoxNation television channel.
Blackwell's trainer Mark Kent, from the town's Contender Gym, said: "We've known that this fight was on the cards for a while, but we've just been sorting out the agreements, purse and things like that.
"Nick has been wanting this fight for ages. We're both really big fans of Billy Joe Saunders. He's a fantastic fighter and, of the Olympians, he's the one we felt would go the furthest.''
The Wiltshire man, who turns 22 later this month, hasn't fought since destroying Georgian Mikheil Khutsishvili to win the WBC Youth Silver middleweight title at Trowbridge's Civic Centre on May 25.
Before that he has Leicester's Martin Concepcion stopped in four rounds to win the English middleweight title, also in Trowbridge in March.
Blackwell previously fought for the British crown last June when he retired in the fifth round against St Helens fighter Martin Murray in Wigan.
That remains his only professional defeat in 13 bouts, while southpaw Saunders, who is just over a year older at 23, has an unblemished record from 15 contests.
Saunders qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where he was beaten in the second round. He turned pro under the wing of Warren later that year.
Murray, who has world title ambitiuons, gave up the British belt earlier this week and with Saunders the mandatory challenger, it paved the way for the Blackwell match-up to be made.
Kent added: "Nick has been ticking over (in his training) up to now but now we'll bring the fitness back into it.
"It's another crack at it for Nick and he's a different fighter now (to when he lost to Murray). He's a lot stronger and a lot bigger. There's a lot more muscle and he adapts faster.''
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