Nick Blackwell: “All I want for Christmas is a fight against Eubank Jr.”

19th December 2014

Avoided middleweight contender Nick Blackwell has promised to skip turkey and Christmas dinner altogether this year if a fight against Chris Eubank Jr can be made for 2015.

The Trowbridge man is currently mandatory challenger for Billy Joe Saunders’ British title, but expects the champion to vacate the belt in the coming weeks. This, he believes, will then pave the way for a clash against Eubank Jr in the new year.

“A British title fight with Eubank Jr is the fight I want more than any other,” said Blackwell. “He’s got the big name behind him – thanks to his father – and the public will want to see him in a good domestic fight again. They don’t want to see him go back to fighting journeymen.

“A potential fight with Eubank Jr fires me up so much. I probably won’t have any turkey for Christmas if I know that’s on the horizon.

“I’m a Channel 5 fighter and he’s someone who loves the attention of the masses. A fight between us two on Channel 5 would give him maximum exposure and would do big ratings. It’s a domestic blockbuster with a lot on the line.”

Eubank Jr’s unbeaten record was snapped last month by Saunders in a much-hyped domestic grudge match, and Blackwell, watching the fight from ringside, was well aware he’d meet one or both in the near future.

“Billy Joe won the first six rounds and then Eubank Jr nicked a few after that when he came on strong,” he said. “Most people in the boxing world knew that was going to happen. Billy Joe often starts quickly and tires towards the end, and Eubank Jr is a bit of a slow starter.

“Also, he’d never done twelve rounds before, so was obviously wary of pacing himself. That might have been why he didn’t do much during the first half of the fight.

“A fight between me and Eubank Jr would be totally different. Whereas his fight against Billy Joe was a bit of a chess match, I’d get involved with him a bit more and it would be more entertaining. There’d be a lot more action, a lot more shots thrown from both of us.

“It would’ve been nice to get Eubank Jr first and take his unbeaten record, but it’s not like Billy Joe completely dominated him or blasted him away. He beat him on a split-decision in a nip-and-tuck fight. That leaves room for me to properly beat Eubank next year.”

The reason for Blackwell’s confidence stems from his own recent form, which has been impressive, and his form in the gymnasium, most notably when sparring Eubank Jr in the past. It’s also the reason why he doesn’t expect the fight to happen anytime soon.

“He knows what happened when we last sparred,” said the 24-year-old. “I could just drop my hands, walk towards him and throw shots, and he’d try and hit me and there’d be nothing there. I was just too strong for him. He wanted to know why I was so strong at the end of the spar. He knows how it felt in there.

“It was quite a while back, so he’s probably now matured and got a bit stronger, but we still both know what happened. That’s why he’s hesitant and that’s why he hasn’t wanted to fight me before.

“He likes to go at his own pace, but if you make him work at your pace, he doesn’t throw a lot of shots. He kind of freezes. He looks really fit, and he obviously trains hard, but he doesn’t have gears and can’t change his pace.”

Ultimately, should Blackwell get the Christmas gift he craves, and should he contest the prestigious Lonsdale belt against Eubank Jr in 2015, he can see only one end result.

“I’d go in there and stop him,” he said. “I’d work his body and take his legs and fitness away. I’d start breaking him down from round one.

“When I sparred him, I was catching him with body shots and he didn’t like it one bit. He was dropping his hands and looking for a break. He was getting tired. He didn’t want to do the 30 seconds break in between rounds. He wanted to change it to a minute. Things like that stick with you. I know I would get to him.

“It would be a big statement to stop him. He’s a tough boy, he takes after his old man. If I could stop someone like that, it would make a big statement.”

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