Long lasting batteries: Ben Jones interview
Ahead of tonight's Commonwealth title tilt against Reece Bellotti, 35-year-old featherweight Ben Jones tells Shaun Brown "I'm still the fittest man in the gym!"
When Ben 'Duracell' Jones isn't the fittest man in the gym that is when he will decide to hang up his gloves.
The 35-year-old goes into his 30th fight on Saturday night aiming to make the long, hard career that he's had all worth it by defeating Reece Bellotti for his Commonwealth featherweight title at the O2 Arena, London.
Jones (22-6-1, 10 KOs) has fought in Spain, up and down the U.K. to take late notice fights, fights he should have won but has also picked himself up some nice belts along the way.
Boxing has been his life since he was eight-years-old and despite knowing when it will be time to bow out, for now... "I'm still the fittest man in the gym," said the charismatic Crawley man.
"On the age factor side I've had a long career, a good career. I won some fantastic titles, which is great. Maybe not earned the money that I wish I did! I've done well but when a fight like this comes up, this is up to me to make it all back. It's the title that should be on my shelf. That's how I look at it."
The title was one he challenged for last April in a contest against Jason Cunningham - who lost to Bellotti in the October - at York Hall. Should Jones get past Bellotti it is a rematch that he is keen on having.
"Without a doubt I'd fight him again. Of course I would," he declared.
"But hopefully this time maybe Eddie [Hearn] would like to be a part of it! I took the rough side of things [against Cunningham], such is life. I'm not going to squabble about it now. I'm a better fighter than my record says and that's the exciting thing about this fight."
The hard-hitting Bellotti (11-0, 10 KOs) against the work-rate, intensity and pressure of Jones sets it up for an entertaining fight. Jones has watched his opponent on television and described him as a "good, exciting fighter".
"One thing I do know is he's still raw," Jones added. I'm going to be totally different than what he's boxed before. If you look at everybody he has boxed they are so different from me. He's got someone, myself, who can punch back, have a bit of power and my work-rate is very good as well.
"It's an exciting fight all day long. It's a clash of styles. I can box as well, the same as I know he can as well. He's no slouch on that side of things. He won the ABA's twice and he's a talented boxer as well. It's a good mix of fighters between me and him."
Jones, who was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) when he was younger credits boxing with saving his life. An outlet given to him after following in the footsteps of his father, who boxed, and his grandfather who was a champion boxer in the forces during the war.
Boxing, however, wasn't enough for Ben Jones the schoolboy. Athletics, cross-country, rugby, judo and football were all performed at a high level by Jones who told of how sport helped his school work as well.
"I had to do 2-3 hours of activity daily and then I had to go to school, but I could concentrate. The strange thing is I could learn properly. I come out with decent grades and stuff. I went to two fantastic schools that understood I had these problems and they'd get me in before school. I'd be doing a four-mile cross country run before school with the teachers, then do school, then have my P.E and they knew I'd be staying behind for football or whatever it was and then I'd be going on to boxing after that.
"I was sport mad and I had to be. If I didn't I'd be causing my mum and dad so much trouble. I was doing different things just to keep my mum and dad fom killing me, probably! The funny thing was, with me, it was my release in such a way that if I didn't do it I couldn't concentrate."
Thankfully, Jones didn't burn out with all his energy being used in such a demanding way. The kid kept going and pushed himself beyond sport into starting up a plumbing and heating business at 19-years-old, which still goes on to this day.
Boxing has been his life but Jones is savvy enough to know it is not the be all and end all. The money from fighting soon dries up if you're not careful and having something to fall back on had obviously been at the back of his mind from a young age.
"I've built a few houses as well. I'm active in every single way! I've got more to life out of boxing. Don't get me wrong, boxing is my life and I'd love to always be a part of it whether I'm doing it or training. Boxing has saved me in my eyes and has been a sport that I've always loved."