Verdicts determined by injury need more clarity!

Jack Catterall, Terry Flanagan and Paul Butler
Jack Catterall, Terry Flanagan and Paul Butler
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Clitheroe boxer Luke Blackledge feels more transparency is required when injuries determine the outcome of fights.

The Commonwealth super-middleweight champion alluded to Terry Flanagan’s victory over Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBO World lightweight title at the Manchester Velodrome earlier in the month.

The 26-year-old British southpaw, who has now won all 28 of his professional contests, was given the decision by referee Marcus McDonnell after his American opponent retired with a dislocated left shoulder at the end of the second round.

Having failed to have reached the stipulated four rounds, preventing the ringside judges from awarding a technical decision,

Blackledge was under the impression that a technical draw was the only realistic outcome with the contest in its embryonic stages.

The 24-year-old, trained by Alex Matvienko at Elite Boxing in Bolton, lost out on the vacant Central Area strap two years ago when a doctor deemed Alistair Warren unfit to continue after sustaining a cut above his right eye courtesy of an accidental head clash.

The contest, halted by the inspection at the end of the second round, was scored as a technical draw.

“It didn’t reach the fourth round so they shouldn’t really have awarded the win,” said Blackledge. “My fight ended as a technical draw and this was a similar thing. There isn’t much difference really because it’s an injury.

“If I lost my unbeaten record in that manner, like Jose did, I would be devastated. The fight should’ve been ruled a ‘no contest’. I think there needs to be a bit more clarity and consistency where these decisions are concerned.”

However, Blackledge doesn’t begrudge Flanagan’s triumph and is happy to see another world champion from the UK.

“I know Terry,” he said. I was with him having cryo treatment in Southport and I spoke to him about his fight. Terry was nicking the early rounds and it’s great for him because he’s a world champion. I’m really chuffed for him. He didn’t get a proper fight but the result stands.

“I wanted him to win it and he got the decision. It’s great for everyone that there’s another world champion from the UK.”

Flanagan now joins the likes of James DeGale, Kell Brook, Lee Selby and Carl Frampton on the world podium.