Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell is ready for the toughest night of his life in Wigan later this month – and plans another to celebrate winning the British middleweight championship.
Blackwell and St Helens powerhouse Martin Murray collide for the vacant belt at Wigan’s Robin Park Arena on Saturday June 18 in what promises to be a thriller.
Blackwell, 20, is convinced he will hand Commonwealth champ Murray his first loss and take the belt with him back to Trowbridge.
Trowbridge is a small town buried between fields and rivers of the Wiltshire countryside and Blackwell spends his spare time fishing and hunting for rabbits to help local farmers.
His idea of a good Saturday night is the stuff of television star Ray Mears.
“I go on survival weekends,” said Blackwell, “and there’s one planned for the week after the title fight.
“I don’t know where we’re going yet. I’ll just pack a knife and some flint in a ruck sack and my mate will drop us off in some deserted woods.
“You have to light a fire, find somewhere to sleep and catch your own food. I go hunting for rabbits, so I know what I’m doing. It’s great fun. I love to be outdoors doing something.”
Blackwell was a promising goalkeeper – he had trials with Cardiff City – before taking up boxing aged 16 after reading a newspaper advertisement.
“I hung around with a group of mates and I was always the quiet, shy one,” he remembered.
“There was always lots of banter flying around and I couldn’t deal with it.
“I tried to defend myself with my fists and had a lot of confrontations.
“I thought it would be good to be able to dish out a few smacks when I had to, so I went to the boxing gym. I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy it.”
Aged 18, he turned professional with PJ Rowson and in less than two years, the Black Country manager and promoter has steered Blackwell to a British-title chance.
Murray’s WBA inter-continental and Commonwealth belts will also be up for grabs in the triple title clash.
The bill also includes Olympic star Joe Murray. British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla also boxes when he faces a selected opponent with the vacant WBA inter-continental lightweight title on the line.
Prospects on the undercard include Adam Little, Dale Miles and Chris Male.
Tickets for this big night of title action are available £35, £55 (Ringside) and £75 VIP Ringside, www.brandhatton.com /0844 847 2500/ 01925 755222