BRITISH Masters light-heavyweight title holder Luke Blackledge insists valuable lessons have been learned after his perfect professional record was blemished.
Though he remains undefeated, the 22-year-old experienced his first stalemate against Zimbabwean fighter Farai Musiyiwa after six rounds at Hull’s City Hall on Friday.
Blackledge’s coach Kevin Maree, who moulded Scot Kenny Anderson into a British champion, took the bout at late notice in a bid to challenge his imperturbable protégé.
However, Blackledge conceded he faced an even bigger test following an erroneous build up to the contest.
“I didn’t feel good,” he said. “But I did alright to get a draw after performing so badly. The performance was terrible on my behalf, and I should’ve beat him.
“The outcome was my own fault. I’ve been missing training and my diet leading up to the fight wasn’t right. I only had a week to prepare but that’s no excuse.
“Everything I was doing in the build-up was wrong, but I know that now and I’ve learned my lesson.
“I’ve ended up with a draw instead of having a loss on my record, so it could’ve been worse.
“It’s my responsibility to put things right now so I’ve got a lot of work to do.
“I felt drained and had nothing in my tank. I lacked my usual energy levels and work rate.
“It’s really disappointing. I just switched off and I need to get back on it now.”
But Maree feels that result may have worked in his man’s favour – providing the wake-up call he’s needed.
He said: “Personally I thought Luke had done enough to win it. I thought he was the cleaner fighter so I was disappointed when I heard the judges scorecards.
“But the outcome may prove to be a blessing in disguise, the wake-up call he’s needed. He was getting slightly ahead of himself in terms of development, he thought he was invincible, but he’s learned a valuable lesson.”
It’s straight back in the gym for Blackledge now as he looks to rectify his last result by claiming a second title.
His opponent Wayne Reed, scheduled to face Sam Couzens at Ice Sheffield tomorrow, claimed the vacant BBBofC Central Area super-middleweight title against Alastair Warren at Hillsborough in July, and Blackledge knows he’ll have to work hard to disrobe him of that belt at De Vere Whites, situated at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, on December 9th.
Blackledge said: “Wayne’s an awkward boxer who can punch and he’s got a good work rate. It should be a good fight over 10 rounds.”
Anybody wanting to purchase tickets for Blackledge’s next outing can do so by contacting him direct on 07803 527505, or by contacting Kevin Maree on 07899 953543.