PERFECT 10 Luke Blackledge has soared to number eight in the British rankings with his latest win.
And this was the most impressive triumph of the 21-year-old’s career, defeating experienced foe Mads Larsen in his own back yard.
This was no stepping stone contest for the Kokoro fighter, against a former WBF and IBO super middleweight champion boasting 51 victories, 38 by way of knockout.
But the Danish native, now living in Berlin, hadn’t fought since his EBU (European) super middleweight title defeat to Brian Magee in January 2010 and Blackledge’s coach Jason Curtis sensed an advantage.
And it paid off as the Ribble Valley boxer utilised his devastating strength, while ignoring a hostile local crowd, to force a fourth-round stoppage at the Herning Kongrescenter in his first contest abroad.
“He was up against high-class opposition,” said Curtis. “But a key factor in boxing is ring readiness and Luke is most certainly always ready.
“This was his 40th contest in just 40 months of training at Kokoro and his 10th pro fight and victory in just 19 months. Larsen however had only boxed once in the last two years, which is why I was keen to take such a step up for him in terms of class of opponent.
Luke always stays focused, dedicated and determined. It’s been a disappointing couple of months for him after being knocked back from a challenge to fight Chris Eubank Jnr and more recently Rocky Fielding .
“Obviously Luke was the away fighter and the crowd was hostile. But Luke took the fight to him and although he was out-boxed early on, his pressure style of fighting broke his spirit.
“Luke timed a lovely overhand right through the southpaw guard of Larsen putting him down on one knee and forcing the stoppage. This win has put him on the map, ranking him at No.8 in Britain and 73 in the world. Title shots are surely to come now.”