Bang Bang Blackwell helps Anglo-Ukrainian relations
Nick 'Bang Bang' Blackwell (13-3) will get a warm welcome from his home crowd when he meets the much in demand Brummie Max Maxwell (16-28-3) in Trowbridge on Saturday, but his recently established Ukrainian fan club will also be checking in to see his progress.
The Trowbridge middleweight made a lot of overseas friends with his gutsy showing against Max Bursak (21-1-1) for the vacant WBA Continental middleweight strap in Kiev last month. Blackwell lost narrowly on points.
The 22 year old said: "I didn't like the Ukraine much, but the girls were nice and they keep messaging me on Facebook. They've been telling me how cool I am. I think that's the only English word they know."
Tough Brummie Maxwell has only been stopped twice in a 47-fight career spent trading punches with the likes of Liam Smith, Sam Webb and Brian Rose, famously laying out Rose back in May 2010.
Blackwell knows what to expect in the 10-round fight having shared a ring with Maxwell before:
"I had just turned professional and didn't really know what it was all about," he admitted.
"Max taught me a bit more. He was strong, came forward and it was a good spar. I know he's very tough and I would rather have 10 hard rounds than just blow someone away in a round or two - that doesn't teach you anything."
"I want to deal with things I haven't had to deal with before. That's what happened when I boxed Billy-Joe Saunders and Max Bursak and I'm sure I will learn something from boxing Max as well."
Kid brother Dan Blackwell is also in action on the show just eight days after pulling off a career-best win over Festim Lama. The York Hall was filled with Lama's Albanian fans and Blackwell silenced them by snapping his unbeaten record with a shock third-round stoppage.
"I don't think I'll be going to Albania any time soon. His supporters didn't seem too pleased with me," said the 20 year-old middleweight.