FRANK MALONEY STATEMENT
An offer was made to Tyson Fury guaranteeing him a £650,000 purse to challenge David Price for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.
Tyson’s promoter Mick Hennessy turned down the offer, describing it as a “joke” and added that David would have to “step up to the plate on our terms”.
Since then I have sent Mick an email asking if there is a way for myself and him to sit down to try and make the fight.
Team Price can also then hear what Mick meant when he said “our terms”.
We could meet in private and agree not to negotiate through the press and stop the name calling, which both sides have been guilty of.
People told me that Lennox Lewis v Evander Holyfield would never be made, but we spent hours around a table and arranged a two fight deal.
Price v Fury would be a massive attraction for next summer and both men could have an interim contest before meeting.
Apart from David Haye fighting Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko it is the biggest contest in the heavyweight division.
I understand Team Fury’s hesitancy because they believe they are close a fight against one of the Klitschko brothers.
If that is the route Mick and Tyson are going, make that clear and both sides can go their own way.
Yes, we did make Lennox v Evander twice. However, I truly hope this is not another Lennox-Riddick Bowe contest where there was plenty said and talks, but no action.
Until both teams get around a negotiating table there is little more Team Price can do to make this domestic blockbuster happen in the immediate future.
We have made offers and even tried to make the fight at purses bids when it was ordered by the British Boxing Board of Control, but it was Team Fury who pulled out of those at the last minute.
For the good of British boxing I truly hope Price v Fury is one of sport’s great events of 2013.
IN DEPTH WITH NICK BLACKWELL
Frank Warren’s end of year extravaganza features a staggering SIX title fights: WBO World Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns defends his title against Jose Ocampo, George Groves defends his Commonwealth Super-Middleweight title against Glen Johnson in the chief support; plus Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders defends his title against Nick Blackwell with the vacant British title also on the line; unbeaten Bradley Skeete challenges Southern Area Welterweight Champion Chas Symonds for his title and WBO International Cruiserweight Champion Tony Conquest defends against Neil Dawson.
Watch the whole ‘Three Kings’ bill live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation, Channel of Champions, Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546. Join at www.boxnation.com
Remaining tickets, priced from £40, are available at www.eventim.co.uk or by calling 0844 2491000.
Name: Nick Blackwell
Family background: I’m one of four. I’ve an older brother who’s the brainy one, a computer geek, a younger brother Dan, who’s also a professional boxer and a younger sister. I live in the town of Trowbridge in the Wiltshire countryside, surrounded by farms. Sometimes I go to the big cities to spar but can’t wait to get back home. I’m a country boy.
Trade: I work in a pawnbrokers
Nickname: ‘Bang Bang’
What age did you become interested in boxing and why? I’d always been fascinated and wanted to get into it as a little nipper, about eight or nine but my mum would never allow it. For some reason, I always seemed to get myself involved in fights on the street or school yard and I grew to love the adrenalin rush. Me and our Dan were always scrapping.
When my parents split up I went to live with my dad. A new unlicensed boxing club called Ringside started up in the area, so I went along, just for a bit of fitness and self-defence. I used to drink and smoke but once I got into the boxing, I stopped all that. I was just 17 but was soon ‘cock’ among those training so they arranged some fights for me.
What do you recall of your ‘unlicensed’ career? I had 18 fights and won ‘em all, 16 by stoppage. Most were in Trowbridge or Swindon, West Country jobs. The money was shocking, perhaps £250 a fight and I never fought anyone lighter than me. Sometimes I’d concede stones. I hear it’s a bit better regulated now.
I had two fights in my first night. First was against a kid half a stone heavier than me, second was against a soldier 2 ½ stone heavier than me. I stopped ‘em both in the second round.
There were quite a few travellers involved. Unlike most of ‘em on that scene, my fitness was always at a very high level. I’d just keep throwing until I overwhelmed ‘em. Initially, most I fought were just scrappers but, as I became better known, the standard improved and I faced a few ex amateurs who couldn’t get licensed as pros.
The highlight was probably against another massive squaddie who looked like he was on steroids and had loads of tattoos. Everyone, everyone, assumed I’d get battered but I weathered his storm, broke his jaw and bust his eye socket. He ended up in hospital for a couple of days!
It was a right good crack. Every Saturday and Sunday they’d cram about 350 into this little snooker hall in Trowbridge and we’d ‘have it off’. I started to get a fantastic following and they’re the bulk who follow me as a pro today.
I’d probably have done amateur boxing if I knew what it was but there weren’t really any gyms close by. I’d not change the (unlicensed) experience though. It happened for a reason.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? I was asked up to Errol Johnson’s gym in Wednesbury to spar some of his pros who’d been good amateurs. We had wars but I think Errol liked my heart. Though their skill level was far higher than mine, I had a good workrate and wasn’t afraid to swing my shots.
I had no head movement back then but always felt fitter and tried to wear ‘em down. I’d train every spare minute I had at the unlicensed club, taking classes and running the big hills back in Wiltshire. I was training like a pro even when I was just a kid so, when I was 18, thought I might as well give the pros a go.
Tell us about your back up team: I’m managed by PJ Rowson but don’t have a promotional deal at the minute. I’m trained by Mark Kent, an ex amateur heavyweight who’s quick as you like, at The Contender gym in Trowbridge. Mark’s been there for me from day one, like a second dad. He’s on my case 100%.
I also use a strength and conditioning coach called Tom Croddington from Body Development in Bath, three times a week. Carl Frampton also uses him. He’s spot on.
What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I get up at 5.30 a.m and train with a few mates. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I go for sprints, Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a steady three to four mile jog with a mate pedalling alongside me.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings I use the boxing gym. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning, I use Tom’s.
At the boxing gym, I’ll do 15-18 rounds of pads and bags, all at a high workrate. Lately, I’ve been having 15 round spars with seven different sparring partners. Sparring’s what I like best, it’s closest to a fight, but I enjoy everything. The bags and footwork drills get boring at times but you need to do ‘em.
Describe your style? What are your best qualities? If people just judge me on my loss to Martin Murray, they’re in for a shock. I like to come forward and can dig a bit but I can box as well as fight. My workrate is always high and I’m fast. I doubt Billy Joe will ever have faced anyone as quick as me.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? I just need experience, need to get some rounds in.
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and unlicensed codes? Both have 10 ounce gloves and no head guards but the quality is a lot, lot higher in the professionals. The fighters are far better schooled. Also, you get to fight people who weigh the same as you and the shows are put together more professionally.
In June 2011, aged just 20 and competing in only your ninth fight, you challenged Martin Murray for the vacant British title but retired on your stool after five rounds. What went wrong that night?
I was just too inexperienced. Training was going perfect and I was doing really well in sparring with Paul Smith then, with two weeks to go, the rascal caught me with a body shot that broke my ribs.
I was in no state to fight but didn’t want to let all the fans down. I knew in the changing rooms that I shouldn’t have been going in there. It was always a lost cause. On top of that, I weighed in too light (156lbs) just above light-middle.
I also have to say, Martin was a very good fighter; big, strong and clever. He got his weight spot on. I don’t know if he was tipped off about the injury but he constantly jabbed my body and I’ve not seen him do that before.
But I learnt loads through the painful experience and now I know what to expect. I’m no longer scared to lose.
Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? Martin Murray probably. He was good at everything. I’ve also sparred Matthew Macklin who’s very strong and tries to take you out with every shot. They’re different but there’s not much between them.
You’ll enter as a big outsider to upset Billy Joe Saunders when you challenge him for the British title on December 15th. What’s your assessment of him and what makes you think you can spring an upset?
I’ve watched a lot of him and always thought he was the best one out of Britain’s 2008 Olympians. He’s a fit, awkward southpaw with a high work rate himself but he’s already talking past me.
Though he looked very good stopping Tony Hill and Jarrod Fletcher early he tends to slow down and get a bit lazy when he’s taken a few rounds. If I can take his lead hand off him, I’m in with a chance because his back hand is always injured. Every time he throws two at me, I have to make sure I throw four back at him.
All time favourite fighter: As a nipper it was Roy Jones Jnr. Quality. Speed, power, slick showboating. Nice to watch.
All time favourite fight: Hagler- Hearns. Flat out war! That’s how I love my fights. Last man standing!
Which current match would you most like to see made? As it appears Mayweather-Pacquiao won’t happen, I’d like to see a match between any of the top three British middleweights; Darren Barker the boxer, Matt Macklin the puncher and Martin Murray the all rounder.
What is your routine on fight day? I’m always up very early then I’ll have some breakfast, go for a light run then take a power nap. I like to do something with my mates. I went the cinema before the Murray fight so shan’t do that again. Bad luck! But I can’t sit around about thinking about the fight. I have to be active, out and about. I might do a bit of shopping around the town.
When I get to the changing rooms at the venue, I need at least 40 minutes to warm up and might even do a bit of light sparring! I do get nerves but the more I get, the better I fight. For Billy Joe, I’m nervous already!
Entrance music: Last time it was a ‘Bang Bang!’ re-mix by Nancy Sinatra.
What are your ambitions as a boxer? Above all, to get respect off people. It’s my livelihood but titles motivate me as much as the money. That said, I’d like to make enough to get into property. I’d love to win the Lonsdale Belt outright and this is my second chance.
How do you relax? I like to go running, then sit down in a field or the dug out of the local football club! I also like my fishing.
Football team: It was Man United but I don’t really follow it so much now unless England are playing. I’m a bit of a patriot!
Read: Boxing News. That’s about it.
Music: I’m a bit soft when it comes to music. I like ‘chilled out’ stuff. I can train to a bit of Celine Dion!
Films/TV: I like the action films. I saw the new James Bond film recently (Sky fall). That was quality. On TV, believe it or not, I like the documentaries; Pawn Star, Storage Wars, Gold Rush....
Aspiration in life: To be able to look back knowing I did everything I wanted to do and to never have money worries. In time, I’d love to have a family.
Motto: Train Hard. Fight Easy
PACQUIAO & MARQUEZ BOTH GUNNING FOR KNOCKOUT AS THEY CLASH FOR THE FOURTH TIME LIVE ON PRIMETIME (CHANNEL 498 ON SKY & VIRGIN ON DEMAND)
Boxing’s most contentious rivalry is set to end with a knockout this Saturday night, live on Primetime (Channel 498 on Sky & Virgin On Demand).
Both Manny Pacquiao and Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez insist that they will flatten the other to conclusively prove who the superior fighter is as they clash for the fourth time in Las Vegas.
The previous three fights have all gone the 12 round distance and despite a draw in their initial encounter in 2004, and Pacquiao winning closely contested points decisions in the other two, the matchups have been the subject of much controversy.
Despite Pacquiao catching the judges’ eyes, many experts and fight fans believe that Marquez has been the rightful victor in their past encounters.
However, despite not getting the rub of the green, Marquez is adamant that this time round he has the tools to stop it going to the scorecards.
“A lot of people know what happened in the last three fights but I’ve prepared myself very hard because I want to give another great show. After this fight it might be the end of the chapters,” said Marquez.
“I’m trying to look for the knockout. Pacquiao said he wants to knock me out but I want to knockout him out. Manny is a strong fighter, he’s maybe the toughest I’ve fought. But I’m ready for this fight. I’ve trained very hard and I’m in great condition for the twelve rounds.
“This is the most interesting fight. I know I need to change something because he knows me - I need a perfect performance,” he said.
The Filipino star, who is regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, claims he will be going into this bout as the aggressor, in a fight he believes will be the last between the two.
“We changed a little bit of our strategy for this fight. We studied his style and we’re ready for him. He knows how I like to fight which is getting in and out so I will be trying to counter-punch more,” said Pacquiao.
“My focus is on more aggression and if I have the chance to finish the fight early I will grab it. Marquez never accepted that he lost the last three fights so it’s up to me to show him in this one,” added the eight-division world champion.
Pacquiao vs. Marquez is live on Primetime for £14.95 this Sunday morning at 2am. To order visit www.primetimelive.co.uk or call 0871 200 4444.