Updated: Sep 13, 2021
After over two years out of the sport, Boy Jones Jnr is set to make his return to the ring this week.
In what is his first fight since February 2019, Boy Jones Jr takes on Connor Marsden for the Southern Area Lightweight title. Jones Jnr is right back in at the deep end, headlining the bill at the famous York Hall on September 17th, and is ready to get back through the ropes and show what he still has to give to the sport of boxing.
Boy Jones Jnr is back and ready to put on a classy performance at the famous York Hall (Photo: @boyjonesjnr_ on Instagram)
Having had a long layoff from the sport, Jones Jnr started training again four or five months ago, and since then he hasn’t looked back. The 24-year-old is back in the gym and enjoying training again ahead of his return.
“Training has gone really well. Things have been going well in this training camp. Obviously I’ve had a long time off, two years, nearly two and a half years, so I’ve learnt and realised that rest is more important as well during training. When I was a youngster, it was always train, train, train, and I was often doing too much, but now I’ve toned it down a little and I’m training smarter.
“Sparring is going really well, strength and conditioning is going well too. As I’ve got older and obviously the rest I’ve had has helped me get stronger as well, I’ve sort of got my man strength now so I’m getting new PBs all the time in the gym, in deadlifting, running etc. But yes training has been great so far.”
Having made his debut back in 2015, Jones Jnr was seen as one of Frank Warren’s hottest prospects, despite not having any amateur background. However, after a few losses and losing the passion for boxing, the Essex man decided he didn’t want anything to do with the sport anymore.
That was until the start of this year, when his love for boxing was reignited. The 24-year-old admits that his son is one of the reasons he has decided to step back through the ropes.
“I haven’t had two years off because of COVID, I’ve had two years off because I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to box, I didn’t want to fight, so I didn’t really care. It hasn’t been frustrating but it’s made me fall in love with the sport again. Towards the end of my four year spell, I didn’t really like the sport. I had a load of bad luck with the sport; robberies, getting messed about by certain people which I’m not going to get into, but I’ve had a lot of bad luck.
“I sort of fell out of love with the game and in these two and a half years I’ve fallen back in love with it again. I’m buzzing, I’m watching it a lot which I never used to do, the big fights, some of the small hall shows and stuff, so I’m falling in love with it again.”
My son, who is three, him watching me on YouTube and stuff has sort of gave me the kick up the backside that I needed to get back into it.”
Another reason, and potentially the biggest one, for Jones Jnr deciding to lace up the gloves again and make a comeback is because of some world class sparring he got invited for.
The British lightweight has been doing some training and had quality sparring with none other than the king at 140-pounds, Josh Taylor. Jones Jnr knew this was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down, so took the bull by the horns and went for some rounds with one of boxing’s pound-for-pound superstars.
“I got called in for sparring with Josh Taylor, I wasn’t training but I thought f*** it, he’s a pound-for-pound fighter, so I wasn’t going to turn that opportunity down. It went really well so that made me realise I still had something to give in boxing.
“My fiancé now, I said to her that I was going to go back in the gym tomorrow, and she was like it’s always tomorrow, why don’t you just get up and go, so that made me realise I do talk s*** sometimes, so I went straight back into the gym. That was probably 4/5 months ago and that got the ball rolling.
Then I got another call to spar Josh Taylor ahead of the Ramirez fight, and I ended up doing over 50 rounds with him, so that was quality. Sparring with him, I learnt so much and it made me realise again that I could win a couple more belts and earn a bit more money out of the sport.”
Jones Jnr has sparred over 50 rounds with the Lightweight king, Josh Taylor (Photo: @boyjonesjnr_ on Instagram)
The Essex man has been thrown right back in at the deep end for his return to the ring, facing Connor Marsden for the Southern Area lightweight title in a couple weeks’ time. Jones Jnr knows a thing or two about his opponent, having shared the ring with him a few years back for sparring, but has nothing bad to say about him.
“He’s a nice kid. I’ve sparred with him once, a few years ago, 2018 or 2019. He’s a big, tall, rangy fighter. He’s a prospect as well, it’s a 50/50 fight really. On paper my career is going down and his is going up, so it’s a good 50/50 fight. He’s a nice kid, it’s going to be a good fight.
“Whoever loses, it isn’t the end of their career, and the winner can push on for sure and knocking on the door on the domestic scene. It’s one of those fights where it’s a good genuine 50/50 fight, we’re in an era now where everyone has to fight each other no matter what. There aren’t as many padded records now, and everyone has to take risky fights so to speak.
“I respect Connor a lot for taking the fight because the fight got offered to a few fighters and they all said no. I don’t know why, I’ve had two years off and my two fights before that I lost them both, so I don’t know why people seem to be avoiding me. But respect to Connor Marsden for taking it because like I said, we’re in an era where everyone has got to fight each other. Connor is a good fighter and a nice kid.”
Jones Jnr knows it is going to be a tough test for him, but is full of confidence that he will get his hand raised come fight night.
Having previously won the Southern Area title down at super-featherweight, a win against Marsden would make Jones Jnr a two weight Southern Area champion, which is quite the achievement. The 24-year-old knows the magnitude of this, and is supremely confident of having that belt wrapped around his waist again for the second time.
“It would be a great achievement winning it again. Fighting for the titles I’ve fought for is a massive achievement already. I didn’t think I’d be fighting for those titles, I never had an amateur fight so winning the Southern Area the first time was a dream come true for me. When I turned professional I had a load of people slagging me off and saying I won’t do anything in boxing and that I’d end up a journeyman because I’ve only had a handful of unlicensed fights.
“Winning the southern area the first time was a massive achievement, but winning it twice at a different weight as well would be amazing, I’d be happy. I’d love to go on and win other titles but the southern area is one of the toughest titles to win, nobody realises how difficult it is to win. If you watch some of the fight of the years, nine times out of ten it for a southern area title. It’s a very hard title to win. That’s not disrespecting any midlands or central area titles, but winning the southern area title is very hard.”
With the fight now just two weeks away, training is in full swing with quality sparring, roadwork and strength and conditioning sessions every day of the week. However, the fight has been moved three times now, so it has been frustrating for the Essex man to keep a steady training regime in place, conscious of wanting to peak at just the right time. With July 31st finalised as the fight date at the famous York Hall, Jones Jnr can fully concentrate on the fight this time around.
“When the fight got changed and pushed back a week, I toned training down for a bit and had a mini rest because obviously I was getting ready, getting really fit and preparing for the 24th, so we had to knock it back a week.
“I’ve had some great sparring. The likes of Sonny Ali, Archie Sharp and others, I’m just cracking on, keeping my head down. Tickets are going really well but it’s just me focusing really, nothing special. I’m one of those weird kids that is always fit, I’m never really out of shape or far off my weight either, so just maintaining my fitness and picking up the rounds in sparring.”
Jones Jnr putting in the rounds in sparring with British prospect Archie Sharp (Photo: @boyjonesjnr_ on Instagram)
As someone who juggles a full-time job with a boxing career, Jones Jnr is a busy man. Working long shifts at the same time as training and eating diligently would be tough for anyone, but the 18-3-1 lightweight insists he has nothing to moan about, and that the work/boxing balance is just something he chooses to do.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard. It is very hard. I’m not going to sit here and moan about it because if I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t. But I want to earn money. Titles mean a lot of course, but I’ve got to put food on the table for my son, so working is my main priority. I said to my boss if boxing ever got in the way of it then I wouldn’t box, so I’m lucky I’ve got people around me who help me. My fiancé helps me out massively, cooking my meals, making my packed lunches for work and stuff so I can eat right, so it is hard but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s the life we choose.”
A win come fight night would most certainly catapult Jones Jnr up the lightweight rankings on the domestic scene, and the July 31st headliner has plans on fighting three times before the year is out.
“A win definitely throws me into the mix domestically, but like I said earlier, whoever loses this fight, it isn’t the end of the world because it’s a 50/50 fight and records are nothing these days, everyone is too worried about getting a loss but it doesn’t really mean anything. I’ll fight anyone, and I’m not scared of anyone, this is the sport I’m in. A win though would definitely knock me back up there, perhaps into the top 20, and then hopefully I can start to knock on the door for English and British titles.
“I want to fight three times this year. I want to be busy. I’ve got a son who is three, I work and I train. I’m not a busy person outside of my career. I want to really smash the boxing, I’ve got probably another good 4/5 years in boxing, so I want to be as busy as I can. This fight in July, then I want to fight maybe in September and again in December, all being well just before Christmas.”
Now with the fight just a fortnight away, the 24-year-old is getting excited at the prospect of competing as a professional boxer once again. Jones Jnr has warned fans to expect the best version of him yet come fight night.
“You’re going to see a new Boy Jones Jnr. You’re going to see more of a mature fighter. Starting using my head, and I don’t mean I’m going to head-butt him, but it’s going to be a very mature performance from myself. Win, lose or draw the best man will win. Massive respect to Connor Marsden but it’s going to be a good performance from me in front of a packed York Hall.”
Official fight night poster (Photo: @boyjonesjnr_ on Instagram