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BOXING: Away on business
NICK Blackwell is planning to prove his credentials as a top-level fighter by making sure that the third big opportunity of his career doesn’t pass him by tomorrow night.
The 22-year-old Trow-bridge fighter has flown out to the Ukraine to take on current EBU European title holder Max Bursak for WBA continental middleweight belt at the Sportpalace Lokomotiv arena in Kharkiv.
‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell has twice challenged for the British title, being outclassed by Martin Murray in June 2011 before narrowly losing to Billy Joe Saunders in London last December.
And the Contender Gym man says that it’s about time that he came home from a showpiece clash with the belt, rather than a pat on the back.
“It is a lot of pressure on me, to be honest,” he says.
“I’ve had two big fights and I’ve lost both of them so this is the third time,” said Blackwell, who has won 13 of his 15 professional bouts so far.
“If I lose this big fight, then everyone will be saying that I’m just at that domestic level. I don’t want to be there.
“I want to be at that European and world level.
“I’m only 22 and I’ve done it the hard way by taking those big fights early on, which a lot of people wouldn’t do, but I need to win this one to take that next step.
“The Martin Murray fight was too early but the some people say that I won the Billy (Saunders) fight – it was definitely a close fight.
“But I don’t want to be going out and having close fights. I want to be stopping people and winning these titles.
“I don’t want to be saying ‘I could have done it’ – I want to be doing it.”
Blackwell’s manager PJ Rowson said: “This guy (Bursak) is a very tough man – make no bones about it.
He's only been beaten once (by Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam in May 2012) and he's never been stopped.
“If this fight was taking place in the UK, I wouldn't be worried at all but you pretty much have to knock someone out to get a draw out in the Ukraine.
“But it’s a big opportunity for Nick to beat the current European champion and whatever happens, he’s still in a position to challenge for the British title too.
Blackwell is being lined up for an elimination contest for the British middleweight title before the end of the year.
British Boxing chiefs have also named the Trowbridge man in a final eliminator for the domestic crown against Chris Eubank Jnr, 23.
The BBBoC have put the contest out to purse bids, the deadline for which is October 9, with the contest expected to take place before the end of December, although the Blackwell camp have their doubts over whether Eubank will take the fight.
Current holder Saunders defends his crown against John Ryder at London’s Olympic Park this weekend.
NEWS FROM BLACKWELL'S FIGHT AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT THIS WEEKEND AND FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @WTSport
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