The new pin up of Ukrainian boxing meets the best chin in British boxing this weekend.
Nick Blackwell will get a warm welcome from his home crowd when he meets rock-chinned Max Maxwell in Trowbridge on Saturday – and his fan club in the Ukraine will also be praying ‘Bang Bang’ wins the top-of-the-bill fight.
Blackwell clearly made a lot of friends with his gutsy showing against Max Bursak for the vacant WBA Continental middleweight strap in Kiev last month.
“I didn’t like the Ukraine much,” said the 22 year-old, “but the girls were nice and they keep messaging me on Facebook.
“They’ve been telling me how cool I am.
“I think that’s the only English word they know !”
Blackwell’s fans could see a lot of him on Saturday night.
Maxwell has never been off his feet in a 47-fight career spent trading punches with champions and contenders including Liam Smith, Sam Webb and Brian Rose.
Maxwell famously laid out Rose with a terrific right-hand wallop back in May, 2010 – and lost a hard-fought British-title rematch on points.
Blackwell knows what to expect in the 10-round fight having shared a ring with Maxwell before.
“I had just turned professional and didn’t really know what it was all about,” he admitted.
“Max taught me a bit more.
“He was strong, came forward and it was a good spar.
“I know he’s very tough and I would rather have 10 hard rounds than just blow someone away in a round or two.
“That doesn’t teach you anything.
“I want to deal with things I haven’t had to deal with before. That’s what happened when I boxed Billy-Joe Saunders and Max Bursak and I’m sure I will learn something from boxing Max as well.”
Kid brother Dan Blackwell is also in action on the show – just eight days after pulling off a career-best win over Festim Lama.
The York Hall was filled with Lama’s Albanian fans and Blackwell silenced them by snapping his unbeaten record with a shock third-round stopped.
“I don’t think I’ll be going to Albania any time soon !” laughed the 20 year-old middleweight.
“His supporters didn’t seem too pleased with me.”