BOXING: Ring in the new year

This Is Wiltshire: Nick Blackwell and brother Dan feature in this month’s edition of Boxing Monthly, out now Nick Blackwell and brother Dan feature in this month’s edition of Boxing Monthly, out now

NICK Blackwell maintains he needs one big break to send his career rocketing to the next level – and the Trowbridge boxer is hoping that it comes in 2014.

The two-time British middleweight title challenger, 23, nearly sent out a major statement of intent in September as he knocked down European champion Max Bursak in his native Ukraine before coming out on the wrong end of a controversial decision in their WBA Continental contest.

Blackwell, last in action when he beat Max Maxwell in Trowbridge in October, is hoping to box for either the IBO continental or inter-continental middleweight crown or a similar WBC belt (he lifted the WBC youth silver title in May 2012) at the University of Bath on March 15.

Details are currently being finalised for the Errol Johnson-promoted show but the Contender Gym fighter said: “I’ve been back in the gym since the start of the year and I kept myself ticking over at Christmas – hopefully, it’s going to be a big year for me.

“I need to try and get the fights in but I know that I just need to win one big fight and then away I go.

“I’m spending all of next week in London, sparring with Billy Joe Saunders (who he challenged for the British title in December 2012) and Frank Buglioni.

“Then, I should be going out to spar with Matthew Macklin (former European middleweight champion) in Marbella in February.

“I sparred with him once ages ago and this should all be some good experience.”

Mark Kent, Blackwell’s trainer, said: “Nick’s already got a ranking with the WBC so maybe we’ll be able to move up to the full youth title and if not, maybe look at an IBO one.

“Three or four big fights this year and he’d then be ready to step up to a world title fight in 2015.

“Unfortunately, the Ukraine thing was down to home advantage and that’s the way boxing is so there’s no point crying about it anymore.”

Fellow Contender Gym fighter Gareth Heard, from Bradford on Avon, is due to feature in March’s show, along with Malmesbury’s Joe Hughes, who is set to step up to 10 rounds for the first time.

The Bath bill is also due to feature Southampton’s King Davidson defending his WBO international light-middleweight belt, as well as Bristol’s Danny Butler, the current English middleweight title holder.

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