Clitheroe boxer Luke can be best of British

Pride of Britain Luke Blackledge and coach Kevin Maree lend their support and sponsorship to table-topping Clitheroe Wolves Under 13s ahead of the Battle of Britain
Pride of Britain Luke Blackledge and coach Kevin Maree lend their support and sponsorship to table-topping Clitheroe Wolves Under 13s ahead of the Battle of Britain

Clitheroe’s British bulldog Luke Blackledge has vowed to snatch the prestigious Lonsdale belt from Paul Smith’s grasp when the pair meet at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on December 7th.

The 23-year-old British Masters light heavyweight and International Masters super middleweight champion believes he will join esteemed fighters such as James DeGale and George Groves to defeat the Real Gone Kid.

After putting Tony Dodson away in six rounds at the Bolton Arena in June, Smith is now looking to take the title outright in his second spell as domestic champion.

But Blackledge is determined to recapture the belt for trainer Kevin Maree after former stablemate Kenny Anderson relinquished the title earlier this year.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’ll be more than ready on the night,” said Blackledge. “It’s just a waiting game at the moment because I can’t wait to get in there.

“It’s by far the biggest fight of my career and I’m going in to it as a huge underdog but I’m definitely going to cause a big upset and become British champion.

“It will be a tough fight but I’m really confident. I’ll be putting my life savings on me taking that title anyway.”

Blackledge added: “Paul is a clever fighter who always goes out to win. He only needs this to take the title outright so he’ll be up for it. He’s a good counter puncher and a very classy opponent but I feel I can win.

“He’s only been beaten by the best but I know I can join them. It would mean everything for me to win that title in front of thousands of people at the Echo Arena.”

Blackledge suffered a minor set back recently when sustaining a swollen ankle while running. But he’s recovered to continue an arduous training camp in preparation.

“I was running up Pendle hill and I went over on my ankle,” he said. “But I’m okay now so I’m just getting on with it. It set me back for a few weeks but I was still able to do pad work and weights. We’ve stepped training up now, I’m training hard and we’re working on different tactics.

“I feel I’ve improved and I’m a lot fitter and a lot stronger than I’ve ever been before so there’s no excuses come fight night.”

Anybody wanting tickets - priced at £40 - for Frank Warren Promotions “History Boys” show can contact Maree Boxing on (01200) 445099.

Those with tickets are welcome to take a coach - free of charge - from the Castle pub at 5-30 p.m. on the night.