Angel faced assassin Boy Jones Jnr has aspirations to kiss the girls and make the boys cry. The cheeky chappie with the boy band looks and bad boy banter would struggle to gain entry to a 15 certificate movie but is presently earning his living, and a growing reputation, as a prizefighter worthy of attention.
Even more remarkable, the 18 year old Dom Negus mentored super-feather swerved the amateur code to cut his fighting teeth on the hardened ‘unlicensed’ circuit, where he swiftly acquired a cult following.
And in late February, the ‘Boy Army’ landed en masse at London’s O2 Arena, creating an ungodly din for Jones’ hugely impressive debut win over Swindon’s significantly more seasoned Joe Beeden.
Jones Jnr returns to action this Saturday night at the SSE Arena, Wembley, in a four-round contest against Aaron Flinn.
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‘I’ve always been a ticket seller, I suppose because I’m cheeky. ‘Kickin’ off and chewing gum! Looking at me, no one would think I’m a fighter,’ chuckles cherubic of Chingford.
‘I rarely go out and I never drink so Dom, my mum and brothers shift the tickets. But I’m never horrible so everybody seems to take to me. I try to be a likeable guy. I like to meet up with my fans and chat to them.
‘I sold about 280 for my debut and the noise and atmosphere from that corner where they were based was mental. It gave me a big boost. I was close to tears. No one was going to beat me after that reception.
‘My opponent, Joe Beeden, was the best kid I’ve fought. He had bundles of experience. And the three minute rounds really suited me. It was less of a rush than the two minute rounds on the unlicensed circuit.’
Though already in his mid teens, Jones Jr still carried the air of primary schoolboy when he first dipped into the Five Star ABC in Romford three years ago.
‘I was always boxing with my little brother in the front room but I didn’t actually start until I turned up at Dom’s gym when I was 15,’ recalls ‘Essex Boy’.
‘People were quite surprised with how quick I took to it cos I was I shy little skinny kid who hardly spoke. But I was hooked. From the age of 15, I was training five days a week.
‘I just really like being at the gym. There’s so many positive people there. I work a few extra hours at the gym but, other than that, I just like to stay indoors with friends and family.
‘From day one Dom was always very generous with his time and did a lot of one-to-one stuff with me. He’s been a real father figure not just with the boxing but also with how to treat people with respect.
‘We start our pad sessions every day at 6am which is perfect as we have the gym to ourselves. I do circuits in the afternoon or evening and track with Dan Harding on weekends. That’s horrible!’
From the onset, despite his youth, the six foot super-feather had no desire to scrap for cups and cutlery.
‘Though I had three or four paid fights on the ‘unlicensed’ circuit from the age of 16, I weren’t interested in amateur boxing. I didn’t have the patience for it. I always liked to sit down on my shots,’ he says.
‘Fighting pro is every young boxers dream. From the moment I stepped into Dom’s gym, I wanted to be a pro like Lee Markham, though I’m surprised it’s happened so quick for me. From the very start, I adopted a pro style. All my early sparring was done with pros like Ohara Davies, Louis Adolphe and Kay Prospere.’
The ‘Boy’ applied for a Board of Control professional boxer’s license as soon as he was legally able. Though the administrators overlooked his prior escapades on the ‘underground’ scene, they insisted he find a fresh fighting ‘handle’.
‘My real name is Ben but as there was already a pro called Ben Jones I needed to find something different,’ he explains in his infectious youthful tone.
‘One day I was acting like a kid with my mates at the bus stop so they called me ‘Kid’ Jones. Later someone said ‘Boy’ Jones was more catchy. It was (manager) Andy Ayling who added the ‘Junior’ at the end. Well, it helps sell a ticket!
His fresh ‘boat’, and a willowy frame that suggests he’d get blown away by an autumn gust, disguise the heart and spirit of natural born fighter.
He says: ‘Though I’m a six foot super-feather, I’m quite strong for my age and I like to come forward and fight in range, deliver excitement. But I can box back foot if I need. I’m not one dimensional. Obviously there’s loads still to learn. I cuff a bit with the left hook and my head movement needs a lot of work.’
Away from the gym, he further advances his fistic education by studying DVDs of the past masters.
‘Ricky Hatton was my hero growing up and he left me a voice message on my phone before my debut which was unbelievable. Lately, I’ve been watching more tapes of old fighters like Arguello and Chavez,’ says bashful Ben who has decades to master his craft.
‘I need to get my first three years out the way before I start thinking about titles. Mind, a few fans are trying to get a bet on that I’ll be British champion before I’m 25. I’ve gotta be worth a punt!’
He’d be tempted to stick a few quid on himself, if he could convince a bookie to serve him!
Ex Southern Area cruiser king Dom Negus has served as mentor for Boy Jones Jr’s entire fighting life.
And the man known as ‘The Milky Bar Kid’ during his own fighting prime at the turn of the millennium clearly thinks his young starlet is chocolate!
‘It’s impossible to meet Ben and not fall in love with the kid,’ claims Big Dom, who once took Olympic champion Audley Harrison the distance.
‘Sure, he’s silly as a bag of spanners. The only time he’s serious is when he’s fighting but we hit it off straight away. Only he and my daughter have kept me going through mad times these last 18 months.
‘The kid can really fight. Despite the baby face, he loves a row a bit too much at the minute but he’s naturally gifted and we’re trying very hard to persuade him to box long range so he can enjoy a bit of longevity.
‘I’ve sat down with (manager) Andy Ayling and got Ben a three year contract which should cover his apprenticeship. By the end of this year, it’d be great if we could get him half a dozen four round fights – different problems; a rucker, a southpaw, a counter puncher etc – then advance him to six round level next year. I’ve high hopes for him.’