British middleweight champion Nick Blackwell (18-3-1, 8ko) produced the goods in Derby last night to retain his title with an emphatic stoppage victory over the previously undefeated Damon Jones (now 13-1, 3ko), live on Channel 5.
The ever improving Blackwell is still only 24 years of age and his 3 defeats have all come at the hands of solid European and world level fighters in Martin Murray (2011), Billy Joe Saunders (2012) and former EBU champion Max Bursak (2013) in fights he arguably took too soon.
Now with Welshman Gary Lockett in the corner, the Trowbridge man claimed the strap in May when he stopped London’s John Ryder in 7 rounds on the undercard of Matchroom sport’s Kell Brook vs Frankie Gavin world title bout, and he had to stay patient in the face of some classy work from Jones last night that saw him lose most of the first 5 rounds before a money punch right at the end of the 6th finished matters.
That round had seen Blackwell finding his way back into the fight with some solid shots to the body after being previously out-boxed, before a big right hook a moment before the bell took Jones off his feet and sent him crashing to the canvas. Despite bravely rising, referee Victor Loughlin took one look at the Leeds man and the contest was rightly waved off.
Speaking post fight, a jubilant Blackwell said;
“I’m buzzed up. I’ve been working on that right hand counter in the gym and it came off.”
“I knew he was trying to out-box me because of his amateur background but there was no power there so I knew he would tire if I put the pressure on him.”
Also on the card Tyson Fury’s 20 year old cousin Hughie scored a points shut out over 10 rounds against durable Brazilian journeyman George Arias, to take his professional slate to (16-0, 8ko).
The 41 year old came to survive and despite being rocked early on in the fight, tucked up, kept his guard tight and was content to follow the taller and more mobile Fury around the ring as they younger man flicked out his jab, threw a variety of combinations, and tried in vain to find a knockout way through.
Evidently the busier throughout, it was another good learning curve for the 20 year old who was boxing for the first time since February’s career best performance against Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko.
At times switch-hitting and looking extremely mobile for a 6ft 6″ fighter, the shades of elder cousin Tyson were evident stylistically and one thinks when he develops a little more – and gains his ‘man strength’ – he will be a dominant future force in the division, yet the message would certainly be not to rush, there is certainly plenty of time.
He took the fight by a referee score of 100-90.