Jones: I can’t afford to lose now

Jones: I can’t afford to lose now

If retaining the Welsh Area title wasn’t enough motivation for Ferndale’s Barrie Jones (21-10, 8KO), a potential Commonwealth title shot awaits him if he beats Swansea’s James ‘Lights Out’ Lilley (7-5, 2KO). The light-middleweights will meet at the Newport Centre in a ten round title fight on Friday, acting as Chief Support for Sanigar Events’ ‘Unleash The Dragon’ show which will be broadcast live on Matchroom Fight Pass. Commonwealth champion Liam ‘The Machine’ Williams (12-0-1, 7KO) recently contacted BoxingWales.com to state his intention to face his local rival and after initial hesitation out of respect for Lilley, Jones is now warming to the idea. He said: “To be honest, with him being Commonwealth champion, I didn’t about it [a potential fight] and I’m still not thinking about it. I want to get this fight out of the way first and if it happens, it happens. “It gets me a bit more up for my fight. I’ve just come back from having a lay off, so I weren’t really expecting anything like this to come up so soon. If the offer is there, I will take it. It gets me up for this fight even more because I can’t afford to lose it now. “We only live a couple of miles apart. We started off at the same gym, I was there before him but we’re from the same place. A lot of people know us both, it’ll be interesting but it’s not even close to happening yet.” In Jones’ last outing, the 30-year-old started his second reign as Welsh Area 154lbs champion by travelling to Jerome Samuels’ hometown and beating the belt-holder in three rounds. Reflecting on the result, he said: “I’m pleased with the result, that was the plan – to get him out of there early. I knew I’d be too strong for him, like. I hurt him early in the first round and I could tell he didn’t want to know, so I took my time and the stoppage came then. “I was comfortable and didn’t have to get out of second gear. I’m happy’ish with my performance.” On the same night at the Newport Centre, Lilley scored an impressive first round stoppage of Cardiff’s Ameen Alkailany and its impact was boosted by the exposure of Eurosport’s broadcast. However, Jones missed the contest and admits to not having watched his opponent ahead of fight night. He said: “By the time I got out and had a shower, all of the boxing had finished so I missed Lilley’s win. At the time, I didn’t know I’d be fighting him next, so I wouldn’t have watched it anyway. I don’t know a lot about him, no. I don’t really look up fighters, to be honest with you. I know it sounds stupid but I’ll see [what they’re like] when I get in there. “Well, I don’t want to tell you what I’m going to do but I’ll be starting nice and positive, on the front foot. I’ll go from there and if that doesn’t work out, I’ve got other things I plan on using. “I’m just thinking of it as another fight. I know I have been in with a lot of different people but sometimes, I was only fighting once or twice a year.” Jones, a tricky southpaw with underrated power, has produced respectable performances against former and future world champions like Souleymane M’baye and Kell Brook. The two-time champion has mixed fortunes in Welsh Area title fights, winning just two of five. Like many Welshmen without the backing of a major promoter, many of Jones’ losses have come when he’s taken fights on short notice. However, Jones’ been able to benefit from good notice for back-to-back training camps and he’s feeling the benefits. He said: “It’s been brilliant, I know everybody says it but I’m probably fitter now than ever. I’m in good condition, really ready for it. “It’s been much easier for me. I’ve always been in the gym but it’s different when you know you have a fight. A date gives you something to train for, gets you out of bed to go running. I’m right up for this fight.”

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