Boxer Luke Blackledge believes it’s time for the sport’s burgeoning prospects to stop hiding.
While the 22-year-old has given his all to break in to Britain’s top 10 super middleweights rankings, he insists others are enjoying a quilted but rewarding upbringing.
Mentored by trainer Kevin Maree, the British Masters and International Masters champion has fought out of his comfort zone on various occasions in a bid to prove himself. Fighting the likes of Mads Larsen and Erik Skoglund in their own homeland is no mean feat.
But the likes of Rocky Fielding and Chris Eubank Jnr are being spoon-fed a career courtesy of their respective promoters - Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn and Mick Hennessy.
Blackledge is adamant that many records are manufactured, with an unblemished success rate being compiled against boxing’s journeymen. Now he wants one of them to step out in to the light and face him on the Haye/Fury undercard at the Manchester Arena on September 28th.
“I want to fight Eubank Jnr on the Haye/Fury undercard,” he said. “To be honest though I don’t think it will happen because he won’t take the fight.
“He wants to step up in class and fight James De Gale but that won’t happen. He needs to climb the ladder and I’m in the top 10 so I’d be the perfect opponent for him. He needs to prove himself. It would be great exposure for me because it would get my name out there.”
He added: “I want to take on Rocky Fielding as well but like a lot of prospects in the UK he wants easy fights and easy wins. I’ll fight anyone. Since he backed out before I’ve just wanted to fight him even more. He’s 15 fights unbeaten but he hasn’t really fought anyone yet.”
Blackledge takes on Alastair Warren at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium on Saturday bidding for his third professional title - the BBBofC Central Area super middleweight belt.
“I’ve seen him fight before and he’s decent,” Blackledge said. “He’s a similar style to me; a forward, aggressive fighter. He’s stepping up from middleweight to super middleweight and I know all about jumping up in class.
“I’m going to smash him because I can’t afford to lose two fights on the bounce. It’s for the Central Area title which isn’t the greatest of belts but it’ll be another 10 rounds in the bank. It’s good experience for me.
“I’ve done about 70 rounds of sparring in preparation. I’ve been in the ring with cruiserweights like Stevie Taylor so I’m in good shape. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and winning again.”