TEN years and 27 fights, that’s how long Crawley featherweight, Ben Jones, 21-5-1(10), has been on the professional scene, and it’s never been easy.
Presently managed by Kaz Evans and Assassin Boxing in Brighton, Ben’s career started under the old Matchroom regime with Barry Hearn back in 2006, debuting at York Hall with a points win over Carl Allen.
Since then he has worked his way up through the ranks to his current status of WBO Inter-continental featherweight champion last October, and he’s done so having endured two of his five losses against Lee Selby (June 2010) and Stephen Smith (March 2012), losses that still don’t register with the Sussex fighter.
“The fight with Selby was a draw all day long and with Smith I went in with only three weeks’ notice,” stated Jones.
“The only proper loss, to me, was (against Juli Giner, in Catalunya, Spain in October 2013) because of silly mistakes that were made on my part, but that’s boxing and, although it has been an up and down career the losses have come against world champions or challengers.
“To me they show that I am that class and it really is down to what happens on the day, the losses just make you stronger so let’s keep on going and see what we can do. I’d love a rematch with Selby though but he knows that’s a risk for him – don’t get me wrong here, Lee is a great fighter, but get him in close, that’s the difference.”
Maybe the one thing missing on Jones’ resume is that of a British or Commonwealth title for, with him being ranked fourth in the world with the WBO, Jones has never had any real opportunity to progress at home or abroad.
He won the English strap at super-featherweight in May 2011 against Akaash Bhatia before the loss to “Swifty” Smith came about. After that he won IBO International at Hove’s Town Hall (against Jamie Speight) and WBO European super featherweight (against Kris Hughes) in consecutive outings.
The latter came in February 2013 before having only three outings over the next twenty-four months, two of which were losses, to Gilner, and, thirteen months later in his next fight, to Santiago Bustos.
With such a spell of inactivity some people could have easily just walked away, but for Jones, he went back to the drawing board and started again, working himself back into title contention.
“When I began boxing I was eight years old after my parents got me into every possible sport going, I was just a complete natural at boxing so stuck it out [his grandad, Malcolm Jenner, was a successful amateur in the forties when in the Armed Forces].
“Then I got my chance, and made my debut at the famous York Hall where I’ve gone on to fight many times and it’s a place which shows I have great support – after winning my debut [against Allen], they actually had to stop the live TV interview due to the noise the crowd was making, that felt amazing to me.”
Since then he has been through countless wars, taking a few titles along the way and, in October last year, at the Troxy in London, he claimed the WBO Inter-continental featherweight strap with a unanimous decision win over the Czech Republic’s Martin Parlagi (97-93, 96-94, 97-93).
The initial defence, in April this year, finished in a No Decision outcome after Jones’ opponent, Jesus Antonio Rios, suffered a cut to his right eye following an accidental head clash in the second which worsened in the next round resulting in referee Lee Cook calling the bout.
For Jones it was frustrating but, on October 29, he goes again. In Tolworth, on a Steve Wraith – Joey Pyle promotion, against a yet to be announced opponent, Jones defends his WBO Inter-continental featherweight title with opportunities at a world title seemingly within touching distance, outcomes of bouts depending.
“The initial defence was annoying really as I believe that, within another few rounds, I’d have had him out of there anyway,” continued Jones.
“Winning the belt though [against Parlagi] was fantastic and I had to take the fights that I did in order to get there and win it. I’ve never had opportunities for British or Commonwealth which I just don’t get though and I’d still seriously consider taking it now, although if I’m mandatory for the world then I’d have to really think about it – if not, then perfect, I’ll go and take them instead.
“It’s all down to Assassin Boxing though as I’ve been with them a few years now and all that they’ve promised me, they’ve delivered which is why I’ve stayed.”