Nick Blackwell’s secret weapon in his big fight on Saturday night could be his boyish looks.
Blackwell will start the underdog to land the British, Commonwealth and WBA Intercontinental middleweight belts when he faces Martin Murray at Wigan’s Robin Park Arena.
The 20-year-old is used to being written off.
As a teenager, he served a tough ring apprenticeship in unlicensed fights and remembers being a laughing stock when he ducked between the ropes of a ring placed in the back room of a snooker club.
“It was like a scene out of the film ‘Snatch !” laughed Trowbridge’s English champion.
“The place was packed and there were gypsies and gangsters everywhere betting on the fights.
“I was only 16-years-old and my opponent was horrible looking. He was bald, covered in tattoos and much heavier than me.
“He looked at me and said: ‘What are you doing in the ring with me?’ The crowd were shouting that the fight shouldn’t happen.
“He looked the part and I looked like a little kid – until I started hitting him back.
“I hit him with a three-punch combination and there was blood everywhere.
“People look at my face and find it hard to believe I am a boxer, but change their opinion quickly when they see me fight.”
Blackwell’s opponent spent three days in hospital recovering from a broken eye socket, jaw and cheekbone and ‘Bang Bang’ says tough nights like that are good preparation for Murray.
Nick who has won all eight professional bouts said: “I’ve heard what Murray says he’s going to do to me, but after what I’ve been through it doesn’t faze me at all.”
Popular St Helens boxer Murray is unbeaten in 22 fights and will start favourite despite Blackwell’s unlicensed prowess.
He added: “The British title is the one I have always wanted, but I am not overlooking Nick.
“He has nothing to lose by taking this chance. I have everything to lose if I am going where I want to.”
British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla challenges Ghanaian southpaw Osumanu Akaba for the vacant WBA inter-continental l title.
British Olympian Joe Murray boxes for his first professional title in his 11th fight meeting Georgian George Gachechiladze for the IBF international featherweight youth title.
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