Luke’s British title dreams suffer knockout blow at the Echo Arena

Luke Blackledge (right) and Zach Parker face off ahead of their contest
Luke Blackledge (right) and Zach Parker face off ahead of their contest

Former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge has revealed that he’ll drop to middleweight after losing his third fight in four appearances at 168lbs.

The 27-year-old, who suffered defeats against Callum Smith and Lolenga Mock heading in to his British title eliminator at the Echo Arena, failed to see out the first round against Zach Parker after being caught flush on the chin with a solid left hand.

The Elite Boxing trained fighter managed to get to his feet before Michael Alexander completed his count but the referee waved the bout off with 20 seconds of the opener remaining as Blackledge staggered uncontrollably to the corner.

“I’m not too good after the weekend,” he said. “I just got caught cold, similarly to how it finished against Rocky Fielding. I got caught in the first round which is very frustrating because I didn’t get chance to get anything off.

“I tried to get to my feet but I couldn’t beat the count because my legs hadn’t fully recovered. It was a flush knock down. I’ve just got to move on and get on with it.

“I’m annoyed but there’s no point in crying about it. I’m gutted that I couldn’t put anything that I’d been working on in to practice. He hit me with a counter left hook after slipping my jab, I controlled his head, but then he span off and caught me clean with a left hand.

“It wasn’t a massive shot but it just caught me flush on the chin. I wasn’t expecting it, I didn’t see the shot coming. I was disorientated and couldn’t recover.”

Blackledge will now drop down to a division that harbours the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, Martin Murray, Jack Arnfield, Brian Rose and British champion Tommy Langford and he has vowed to continue his quest for the Lord Lonsdale strap.

“The plan from here, first and foremost, is to have some time off,” he said. “I’ll be boxing again in December, dropping down to middleweight. I’m going to give it a go but hopefully I’ll be big in that division.

“I was quite small at super-middleweight. I’m going to give middleweight my best shot, I’ve had a lot of fights now but I’ve still got plenty more in the tank.

“I’ll just have to see what happens and gauge how comfortably I can make the weight. I’ve been boxing at the top level for a while now against some of the best fighters at 168 that are too big for me.

“I could only get so far but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. I still want to achieve a lot more though.

“I’m going to concentrate and get myself there. It’s all down to me because it’s dependent on just how much I want it. I definitely want more belts and I want to try and get another shot at the British title.”