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Boxer Nick Blackwell eyes his first professional title

Blackwell eyes middleweight title

Nick Blackwell believes his crack at the vacant English middleweight title can open up doors to a bright future.

The 20-year-old prospect, called 'Bang Bang', takes on Harry Matthews in Bath on Saturday after just six pro bouts.

"There are a lot of goals to achieve and if I win this it opens up a lot of opportunities. There's a massive future out there," he told BBC Points West.

Blackwell is the youngest contender for the belt in history and is confident of success and entering the record books.

"I've never been this fit before for a fight and I'm feeling sharp and good on the pads. I feel spot on," added the Trowbridge boxer.

"To get a title shot is a massive opportunity. I was surprised as I didn't think I'd get an English title chance this young and after this many fights, but it means everything to me and I'm making history.

"Most pro fighters take it a bit slower with 15 or 16 fights before going for the title.

"Going straight into an English title fight after six is massive, but you've got to take the opportunities when they come and I feel ready."

Blackwell, who juggles his training with work in a fishing tackle shop, made his professional bow in June 2009 with a knockout and has won all his subsequent fights on points.

Nick is a freak of nature - whatever I tell him to do he does it until he's got it right

Nick Blackwell's coach Mark Kent

Most recently he saw off Luke Osman in a six-round points win after having the southpaw on the floor in the opening round in October.

And he also lived up to his 'Bang Bang' nickname when he downed Darren Gethin in the first round of a fight in March.

"I've had that name from knocking people down," Blackwell explained. "In the pro ranks knockouts don't happen as often as the opponents are a lot better class, but I've knocked most people down that I've fought.

"Some have got back up and gone on to the later rounds, which is good, because I need the rounds."

Saturday's test at Bath University Sports Training Village will prove a step up in that Blackwell will be facing a possible 10 three-minute rounds as opposed to six, but his coach Mark Kent has no doubt he is up to the task.

Kent said: "Nick is a freak of nature. Whatever I tell him to do he does it until he's got it right and, after every fight, all he wants to do is put right what he's done wrong.

"He knows he's still learning, but all the basics are there. He's very strong for the weight. Nobody pushes him around and as well as being physically tough, he's also mentally tough."

Blackwell's manager PJ Rowson added: "Nick isn't used to this sort of attention, but I've told him that if he's going to go to the top he had better get used to it."

Opportunities are made of offers like this so this is my opportunity - this is my time

Harry Matthews

Opponent Matthews, who got the nod for the fight after injury forced Midlands Area champion Matt Hainey to withdraw, comes in to the bout with 10 wins from 11 outings.

The 'Pocklington Rocket', 22, has never been knocked down and beat Andrew Lowe in his most recent fight in October, although he lost on points to Ciaran Healey in Belfast in June.

"This is the chance for me to make my own slice of history and I am determined to bring the title back to York," Matthews told York Press.

"I feel that we're on about the same level. Opportunities are made of offers like this so this is my opportunity. This is my time."

The title was vacated by the 'Black Country Bodysnatcher' Darren McDermott, whose career came to a premature end in October when he required surgery to remove a brain aneurysm.

The card is also due to feature Blackwell's fellow Contender Gym fighter Liam Richards, a super-featherweight from Melksham, Westbury welterweight Aaron Fox, Calne super-middleweight Andrew McCaffrey and Trowbridge lightweight Dan Carr, who will be lining up for his second fight in the space of nine days after being edged out by former amateur Andy Keates in Stoke.

Bristol boxer Martin Robins is also on the bill, along with Northampton's former England international Nathan Reeve.

see also
Pro boxing set to return to Bath
19 Oct 10 |  Boxing

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