LONDON – Manchester’s Jack Arnfield is buoyant and “raring to go” ahead of his British middleweight title fight with champion Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell this Saturday (November 14) at Bristol’s City Academy.
The 26-year-old accepted the fight with Blackwell last Friday, following the withdrawal of original opponent Elliott Matthews, and now can’t wait to finally get his hands on that coveted Lonsdale belt.
“On Friday morning I got the phone call from Steve Wood, my manager, who told me Matthews was out and I was in,” recalled Arnfield, 19-1 (4 KOs). “I was over the moon. I was ecstatic.
“I’ve been working towards an opportunity like this my whole career. I’ve had some rough spots in my career but these past twelve months have been great. 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.”
Arnfield has been a professional eight years now, but has been active for only four of them on account of personal issues and injury woes. More recently, though, he’s enjoyed some positive activity; earlier this year he got to the semi-final of Sky Sports’ Prizefighter tournament and a little over two weeks ago he won an eight-rounder in Manchester.
“I have stayed in shape because I knew there was a chance something like this could happen,” he said. “I wanted to be ready if the chance came along. So, after my last fight two weeks ago, I had two days off and was then straight back in the gym. I had an inkling I’d be fighting again pretty soon.
“I’m in really good shape. I don’t struggle to make middleweight – I make it really well. I’m fit, I’m strong and I’m ready for Saturday night. I’m raring to go.”
Though he concedes he knows little about the man he replaced, Arnfield believes Blackwell will be wishing it were Elliott Matthews in the ring with him on Saturday night in Bristol.
“I’ve never seen Matthews box before,” said Arnfield. “I looked up his record and he seemed quite untested. He was a southpaw, but Blackwell doesn’t do too badly against southpaws; he boxed Billy Joe and gave him a good fight, he beat John Ryder and his last opponent, Damon Jones, was also a southpaw. He’s had a good run of southpaws, so I bet he was over the moon when Matthews was given the shot. He will have been training for a southpaw.
“I’m obviously not a southpaw, but I don’t think that will have too much of an impact on Blackwell. He’s a professional, he’s British champion and he’ll be prepared for whatever is in front of him.
“I do think I’m an all-round better boxer than Matthews and a tougher challenge for Blackwell, though. And I’m looking forward to showing that on Saturday.”
As for Blackwell, the new challenger admits he’s been keeping a close eye on the Trowbridge man ever since he dramatically shocked John Ryder in May, well aware that he might one day fight him for the British title.
“I’ve been hunting the British title for the past 18 months, so I’ve kept tabs on all the champions that have come along,” said Jack. “As soon as Blackwell won it in May, I had my sights set on one day fighting him.
“He’s aggressive and very, very fit. You can’t take that away from him. He’s always there for the full twelve rounds no matter who he’s up against. I know it will be a hard night’s work. But people underestimate how fit I am. I don’t stop from the first bell to the last bell.
“I also know he doesn’t have much of an amateur pedigree or any amateur background at all. He fought on the unlicensed scene. I’m not saying that’s a bad scene, but I think having an amateur pedigree stands for a bit more than that.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting him. I think everyone will be entertained.”
*** For tickets to BANG BANG: Blackwell vs. Arnfield, please contact the Ticketline Box Office on 0844 888 4402, the Sanigar Events Box Office on 0117 949 6699 or visit www.hennessysports.com ***
*** Blackwell vs. Arnfield will be televised live and exclusively on Channel 5 from 10pm, Saturday, November 14 ***