Boxing: Jones eyes an English and British title charge

Damo Jones.
Damo Jones.
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UNBEATEN Wortley boxer Damo Jones says his apprenticeship is over with the middleweight immediately intent on becoming the third professional national champion in Leeds. Following the successes of Josh Warrington and Bob Ajisafe, Jones has vowed to win either the English or British national title within the next year.

Jones, 21, landed the 12th victory of his professional career when defeating Kieron Gray at Leeds Town Hall earlier this month. That triumph followed April’s conquering of Tyan Booth at Elland Road which handed Jones his first title as a professional – the British Masters Gold light-middleweight title. But now both the English and British belts are on Jones’ agenda for a thriving boxer who has recently stepped up from light-middleweight to middleweight.

After landing the 12th success of his career, Jones will take on unbeaten 33-year-old London boxer Elliott Matthews later this year for an English middleweight title eliminator. The winner will then be in line to take on English champion Dan Butler. But inspired by the success of Ajisafe and Warrington, Jones sees the British title held by Billy Joe Saunders and even the world title as realistic targets with the southpaw boxer, who has recently become a father, ready to show he has turned from a boy into a man.

“The apprenticeship is kind of over now and it’s time for the big fights,” Jones told the YEP this week. “The British Boxing Board have put me forward for an English title eliminator against another undefeated person from down in London. That’s a step in the right direction.

“We are waiting for the exact date but it’s got to take place before the end of September. And I’m going to win it, I’m going to make sure I win it as I’ll train hard and then I’ll fight Dan Butler for the English title.

“I was there at Josh’s fight at Leeds Arena this month and the atmosphere was unbelievable. There’s a good buzz around Leeds at the moment. We have got two British champions in Leeds in Bob Ajisafe and Josh and it’s time for me step up and bring titles back to Leeds. I’d say I can definitely do that within a year. It’s my time now to shine and long term I’m talking world titles. That’s my inspiration. The English and the British titles are all stepping stones and I want to be a world champion. That’s the aim. I’m only 21 and I’ve got plenty of time but it’s time to step up.”

Jones continues to put in the hours in his quest for British and even world glory with the middleweight regularly up at 5am to train with coach Danny Thornton at West Leeds ABC where Jones also works. And the boxer also says the recent birth of three-month-old baby daughter Carys has given him a new lease of life.

“I turned pro when I was 18 so I was still a boy really but now I’ve turned into a man. It’s time for the big step ups now,” said Jones. “Having my little girl has also given me an extra drive as well. It gets me up out of bed on a morning and makes me train harder as I’ve got to think about my girl now.”

Jones has been able to spend extra time with his beloved daughter over this last week with coach Thornton giving him two weeks to take things somewhat easier following his Leeds Town Hall victory. The hard graft towards his English eliminator title fight will then begin in earnest on Monday. But first Jones will get more food for thought when watching the biggest fight on British soil in modern history between Carl Froch and George Groves. Representing the precociousness of youth, Jones is gunning for Groves but neither of tonight’s showstoppers are the ultimate inspiration.

Jones, of Welsh heritage, declared: “I want George Groves to win but I can see Froch just beating him. He’s got a granite chin and I’m really looking forward to it. It should be tasty. I just like the way Groves boxes but I wouldn’t say I model myself on him. Joe Calzaghe is my man.”

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