Blackwell seeks solid British defence over stand-in Arnfield
Lee Gormley | November 13, 2015
Nick Blackwell v Jack Arnfield
- British middleweight title fight
- Saturday, November 14th
- Scheduled for: 22:00 GMT
- City Academy, Bristol
- Live on Channel 5
Blackwell defends British title against Arnfield
Five months after getting his hands on the British middleweight title, Nick Blackwell puts his crown on the line against stand-in opponent Jack Arnfield at Bristol’s City Academy on Saturday night, as he aims to continue his climb towards further fighting success.
The 25-year-old Towbridge champion (18-3-1, 8 KOs) was scheduled to face unbeaten champion Elliot Matthews, but ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell now contests Blackpool’s former Prizefighter competitor Arnfield (19-1, 4 KOs) instead, after his initial foe withdrew with injury.
Opponent change no problem
Wiltshire ace Blackwell insists that the sudden change of opposition, which occurred just eight days before the Bristol bout, has done little to distract him during preparations, and he is 5/2 with Coral to outpoint Arnfield and retain his hard-earned Lonsdale belt.
“It’s exactly like early on in my career – that’s what it feels like,” stated the Gary Lockett-trained fighter.
“Back then, you’d train and be ready and people would say ‘Nick, do you want to fight this person?’ You wouldn’t know who it was going to be and then, a few days before, it’d be like ‘oh, that’s who I’m fighting’.
Sparring with DeGale
“The opponent changing honestly doesn’t bother me at all. I was preparing for a southpaw and sparring with James DeGale and Jake Ball but I’ve also been sparring with [British super-welterweight title-challenger] Liam Williams and Alex Hughes from the gym, who are orthodox.
“I’d be ready to fight someone like Chris Eubank Jr – that’s how hard I’ve trained.”
Having sparred with the likes of current world champion DeGale, Blackwell is hoping to reach that highest level swiftly, after defending his British crown against Arnfield, and his promoter Jack Hennessy believes he’s already right up there with the best.
“I know there’s something special about Nick because he bangs so hard and since the Ryder fight he has realised what he can do,” praised Hennessy, who hopes to steer his man towards possible match-ups with Billy Joe Saunders or Chris Eubank Jr further down the line.
Blackwell close to Golovkin?
“I want him to win the Lonsdale belt outright and then we will go the traditional route to a world title shot, starting with the European title.
“At this stage next year we will be ready to let him go on the world middleweight stage because I believe he’s the best middleweight out there bar Gennady Golovkin.
“We wouldn’t be looking to make Golovkin because Nick needs more experience but considering he had no amateur experience, was thrown in at the deep end as a pro, he has fantastic potential.”
Blackwell has been seeing a sports psychologist recently in order to help tackle his slow starts in fights, claiming his opening round outings are what have let him down in the past.
“I’ve been seeing a sports psychologist to see if he can get in my head and give me reasons why I’m not starting fast in fights,” continued Blackwell, who is odds-on 4/9 to stop Arnfield prematurely.
“It helped me after just one session. We’re not just talking about boxing. We’re talking about everything. He gets right inside my head and explores every aspect of my life and gets me to talk about how I feel about it.
“I’ve never had anything like that before. It’s only going to benefit me. It’s not going to make me any worse. I think it will give me a mental edge.”
Arnfield ready to upset
Blackpool puncher Arnfield was thrust into this match-up only a week beforehand, after Blackwell’s initial opponent withdrew from proceedings, and he is 12/1 to shock the Bristol crowd by stopping the reining British champion.
“I’ve been working towards an opportunity like this my whole career. I’ve had some rough spots but these past 12 months have been great,” stated Arnfield.
“I’ve been back in the gym, working hard, enjoying it and this is the best time for an opportunity like this to come along.”
Defending British middleweight champion Blackwell will look to dominantly overcome Arnfield in Bristol though, and put on a dominant performance which could potentially propel him towards bigger and better contests in his career, as he continues to climb the testing middleweight ladder.
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Coral’s top tip: Nick Blackwell is continuing his middleweight resurgence and will contest stand-in opponent Jack Arnfield, so back him at 5/2 to overcome his latest challenger on points and retain his title.