BOXING: Capital gain

Wiltshire Times: Nick Blackwell, in action again Billy Joe Saunders earlier this month Nick Blackwell, in action again Billy Joe Saunders earlier this month

MARK Kent believes that Nick Blackwell’s reputation was given a major boost after his performance in London earlier this month, despite his second professional defeat at the hands of Billy Joe Saunders.

Blackwell’s aggressive, battling display at the ExCel Arena earlier this month earned the 22-year-old a host of admirers from within the boxing fraternity and even prompted top promoter Frank Warren, who signed Saunders in 2008, to show an interest in the Trowbridge man.

Although former Olympian Saunders maintained his unbeaten record and will go forward looking to step up to the next level in the New Year, Kent reckons that after Blackwell pushed his opponent to his limits, it his profile that has benefited the most from the December 15 showdown.

“People are looking at Nick and what he did against Billy Joe Saunders and saying that he’s a future champ,” said Contender Gym trainer Kent.

“He was too strong for Billy Joe and he took him all the way.

“The fight was a lot closer than what the judges’ scores said, especially one judge.

“I think that Billy Joe is a talented fighter and he did well to get through that fight but do I think that he’s going to be able to win at the next level? I think he’ll struggle.

“The publicity that’s come out of Nick’s performance has been great and it’s his profile that has gone up, while Saunders’ has gone down.

“Nick’s back working hard in training to keep himself ticking over at Christmas and we’ve now got to look at what’s next for him.

“If anyone drops out of a title fight, he’ll be ready to step in.”

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