Angel faced assassin Boy Jones Jr is growing out and growing up.
The 21 year old ex Southern Area Super-featherweight king’s recent decision to move north into the lightweight class has coincided with some drastic changes to his personal circumstances.
‘I turned 21, passed my driving test, proposed to my fiancée and discovered I was going to be a father within a 10 day period in December. Now I’ve even more to fight for,’ quips the perennially giggling Andy Ayling managed starlet who kick starts his 2018 campaign with a scheduled eight rounder against Nicaraguan nugget Reynaldo Mora at The York Hall on February 24th.
2017 was a mixed year for the cheeky chappie from Chingford. In February, he handed in his unbeaten tag and Area title after Lowestoft hardcase Craig Poxton outlasted him in a Fight of the Year candidate at The York Hall but he regrouped with a hat-trick of stylish wins to close the year with 14-1-1 stats.
‘The stoppage loss to Craig Poxton opened our eyes to the bigger picture. I’ve always trained hard but now I’m even more of a mad man!’ insists the Essex ‘Boy’ racer.
‘These days I’ve got a smarter head. I’ve done a lot of sparring recently with (Olympian) Joe Cordina and (Commonwealth featherweight boss) Reece Bellotti who are both going on to big things but I’m certainly not getting bashed up.
‘Joe is a gentleman but a vicious gentleman! So elusive and unorthodox. I try out some of his stuff. Reece gives me eight hard rounds at a high pace. Being able to compete in that calibre shows me I’m destined for good things.’
Jones’ talent and tenacity have been abundantly evident since he entered the profession – devoid of any amateur experience – as a skilful but skeletal 18 year old, three years back. Now, as the grade of competition increases, he has committed to adding more meat to his matchstick frame.
‘Whereas that (unbeaten heavyweight prospect) Nathan Gorman is 21 going on 40, physically, I’m 21 going on 13. I’m still getting a child ticket on the bus!’ says the sleek and stylish six footer.
‘But Five months ago, I changed my S and C coach to Mark Finlay. I’m definitely filling out and getting stronger. At lightweight, I’ll bring more power and my pace will be even better. Though I can punch, Dom (Negus, the ex Southern Area cruiserweight king and ‘Boy’ mentor) stresses that I can never let anyone outhustle me.’
With his gawky grin and goofish antics, it must be difficult for strangers to fathom that this most cordial of young men earns his crust in the hardest profession.
But when the lights dip and the bell rings, Jones Jr dramatically morphs into a vicious and violent operator. Eight of his 14 victims were brutally extinguished before the cards were called.
‘There’s stuff about my past I don’t really like talking about but it builds up inside me,’ he disclosed.
‘Let’s just say my dad weren’t great. My mum has been a mum and a dad to me so I didn’t need a dad. I just want her – plus my fiancée who’s carrying our baby – to have a better life. I want to stop thinking about my bad past and concentrate on a great future.’
His charge towards title contention continues on Saturday week against the well travelled 23 year old Latino who has previously extended quality men like Jamie Kavanagh, Tommy Coyle and Lyon Woodstock the full trip.
As ever when BJJ is in the house, expect the iconic East End venue to be positively bouncing!
‘I don’t like to call them ‘fans’ cos they’re all family and friends. I know and love every one of them. They’ve got their own lives to think about yet give up time and money to follow me. I’m so appreciative,’ he says.
‘I’m just looking for a positive year; a busy year, hopefully another six fights, another 40-50 rounds. Sure, it’d be nice to collect another title but we have to continually stress we’re in no rush. I’m still learning and refuse to look too far ahead. I’m not looking at the champions or calling anybody out. Have patience with me.
‘I’ve heard Mora’s a tough lad but I never look too much into opponents. I leave it to Dom. He’ll come up with a game plan and I’ll stick to it. Whoever they are, whatever they’ve got, I’ll adapt.
‘I’ll be happy if Dom is smiling afterwards and saying he’s proud of me.”