SOME fighters turn pro with an ambition simply to make a living from the sport. Others are focused on a world crown from the moment they lay on the gloves. A great many see their ambitions magnify as success is attained and Nick Blackwell appears to fall into that category. He had no ambition to capture even a British title when turning pro but now he has one he wants to win the Lonsdale Belt against mandated challenger Chris Eubank Jr then use that predicted victory as a springboard to even grander stages. The only problem is that, while purse bids have been won by Blackwell’s team for the two men to meet, Eubank Jr recently secured a position as mandatory challenger for the WBA belt and may wish to bypass a risky assignment against a man who insists he troubled the son of a legend in their most recent spar.
“I’ve sparred Eubank quite a few times,” Blackwell recalled to Boxing News. “It was quite cool but the more I spar someone the more I get to them. the last time, just over a year ago I think I beat him up a little bit. His trainer Ronnie Davies said, ‘You two aren’t fighting until it’s for good money and a big title. I felt he wasn’t very strong physically but he was very sharp and snappy and he’s improved since.
“I definitely want that British title, I only have to defend it one more time to get to keep it and I never thought I’d ever win one so imagine owning one. Eubank’s the mandatory and I’ve wanted that fight for a while; people probably look at my last fight and think I’m not ready but hence why I’m training now. It’s a tough fight against a good opponent and we’re both getting better every time. Whoever wins goes on to European or world level. If I was in Eubank’s position I wouldn’t fight me. He probably wouldn’t get as much money for British title fight as a world and they’re both hard fights, I’d rather lose for a world title. But I don’t think him fighting [WBA ‘regular’ champion] Danny Jacobs is going to happen for a long time, I think he’s hoping for a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders [who edged Eubank last year].”
Blackwell also has a points defeat against Saunders on his record but that was back in 2012, way before he kickstarted his career under promoter Mick Hennessy and trainer Gary Lockett. His relationship with the latter began earlier this year and the pair have three wins together, all with the British title on the line. With a superb team behind him, Blackwell now feels the sky is the limit.
“It’s made a big difference having a promoter like Mick behind me and a great trainer in Gary too,” Nick said. “You haven’t seen the best of me yet. I’m still young, I’ve got loads to learn and I’ll be even better in 2016. I always train hard but I’m not training as much as I used to; I was killing myself! I’m using my jab more, my foot and head movement, instead of getting dragged into a war all the time.”