It appears increasingly unlikely that Callum Smith will be the man stood opposite when Luke Blackledge challenges for the British super-middleweight title.
After “Mundo” dispatched of Hungarian journeyman Norbert Nemesapati in London all the talk from the Liverpudlian was angled towards his mandatory shot at Badou Jack’s WBC World title at 168lbs.
Smith ended his opponent’s resolve in the seventh round with a sickening left hook to the rib cage that broke the Budapest born boxer.
The bell intervened but the 21-year-old’s corner had seen enough and referee Victor Loughlin accepted their call to throw in the towel.
Regardless of what happens, however, Blackledge is training hard to prepare for all eventualities.
“I’m training like a machine which is what I need to do because I’m living the dream,” said the Elite fighter, who is trained by Alex Matvienko.
“I’m training twice a day covering everything from sparring, technique work, strength and conditioning, running, sprinting, swimming. I’ve got to make sure that I put the graft in.
“The training camp is going well and we’ll be sticking to what we normally do.
“We’ll tweek a few things, particular with sparring to prepare for an opponent like Smith, but what we do is tried and tested.
“We cover all angles and it works because I’ve won seven fights in a row.”
Jack’s wish of a unification clash with IBF supremo James DeGale could put the breaks on Eddie Hearn’s charge with the Matchroom promoter flirting with the idea of getting Smith out on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s first world title defence at the Echo Arena on October 15th.
That could prove to be the moment that Blackledge lands his dream shot at the prestigious Lonsdale Belt.
“We’re preparing for the best and at the moment that’s Smith,” said Blackledge. “I thought he looked really good at the weekend. People criticised his performance a bit but I thought he looked good.
“He picked his shots well, stayed at range and executed his jab to good affect. He worked up and down his opponent and ended up smashing the kid. His opponent just wasn’t in his league.
“He got the win, the stoppage and he barely got caught so he couldn’t really ask for any more.”
Blackledge added: “The more you watch them the more you can see openings to exploit. You can pick out mistakes that they’ve been making. He won’t fight like that against me though.
“He’ll have a different gameplan and he’ll step it up again. He’s a great fighter and he’s proved himself time after time. That wasn’t his best performance by a mile but I’m not going off that performance.
“I’m going off wins against Christopher Rebrasse, Rocky Fielding and Hadillah Mohoumadi.
“They were world class displays. I’ve got to be the best that I possibly can be if I’m going to get any success.
“I won’t be cutting any corners. I’ve got to be as fit and as strong as I can because I’m fighting one of the best boxers in the world.”