Date set for the Battle of Britain

Luke Blackledge lands a right hand on Lee Markham
Luke Blackledge lands a right hand on Lee Markham
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The date and venue has finally been confirmed - mandatory challenger Luke Blackledge will face British super-middleweight champion Callum Smith at the Manchester Arena on December 10th.

The contest, which will see “Mundo” put his Lonsdale Belt on the line, will feature on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s latest defence of his IBF heavyweight title against American Eric Molina.

A bumper card, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on SHOWTIME in the US, also features Dillian Whyte who defends his British Heavyweight title against Dereck Chisora in an official eliminator for the WBC World title.

Meanwhile Scott Quigg returns to action at Featherweight, Kal Yafai challenges WBA Super-Flyweight champion Luis Concepcion, Irish amateur sensation Katie Taylor makes her second appearance in the paid ranks, Heavyweight wrecking ball ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz stars and Hosea Burton will defend his British Light-Heavyweight title against Frank Buglioni.

“I’m now fighting Callum Smith on December 10th and I’m buzzing with that,” said the former Commonwealth champion. “It’s a great card and it’s a massive opportunity for me but it’s one that I’ve earned.

“I’ve worked hard to get myself in to a mandatory position to fight for the British title. I’ve put myself in to the spot of being number one challenger so I’m going to take it with both hands.

“It’s a massive honour to fight on Sky Sports on a massive show that features Anthony Joshua’s world title defence at the top of the bill.

“These are the nights in boxing that can change your life. I just need to perform. It’s going to be a great experience for me. It’s unbelievable and a huge opportunity.”

Blackledge is adamant that he’s up for the challenge, despite Smith’s sparkling reputation.

The 26-year-old accepts that he wasn’t up to scratch in his win over Elvis Dube, with complacency proving detrimental, and that’s something he feels his opponent may suffer from.

“He’s probably going to walk in to this fight like I walked in to my last fight because he’s going to under-estimate me,” he said.

“It’s possible, he could under-estimate me, but he’s got a smart team around him. He’s got a lot of very good attributes as a boxer too.

“He will be fit and ready, I know that, but anything can happen. I just need to be fit and 100% ready for this fight.”

Blackledge added: “I’m fighting one of the best boxers in the world in the super-middleweight division. Everybody else has avoided him. I just want to put on a good performance and give a good account of myself.

“He’s a top fighter, there’s no doubt about it, but anything can happen. I only need to catch him on a bad day or with a good shot. There is the potential for complacency and I need to capitalise on that.

“I feel that I can challenge the top fighters at super-middleweight. I didn’t show it in my last fight but I’m ready to fight at that level. I’ll step up to the challenge and rise to the occasion.”