Loss of main event is not a concern!

Clitheroe's Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge
Clitheroe's Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge

Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Luke Blackledge (19-2-2) insists BoxNation’s highly anticipated billing of World War III won’t be tarnished by the loss of its main event.

Earlier in the week it was announced that Billy Joe Saunders (22-0-0) was forced to withdraw from his WBO World middleweight title challenge against holder Andy Lee (34-2-1) after the former British, Commonwealth and European supremo sustained an injury in training.

It’s the second time the contest has been scratched with it being initially scheduled for September 19th at the Thomond Stadium in Limerick, Ireland.

The fight was then moved to promoter Frank Warren’s show, held in association with Adam Booth and Top Rank, where it would be supported by a stellar undercard.

Following the postponement of the all-traveller affair, Blackledge said: “There’s still world title fights on the card and it’s still going to be a sell out at the Manchester Arena.

“It would’ve been great to have that contest as the main event because they’re both world class but there’s nothing you can do about an injury.”

The card will still feature Terry Flanagan’s defence of his WBO World lightweight strap against American Diego Magdaleno as well as Liam Smith’s scrap with John Thompson for the vacant WBO World super welterweight belt. Liam Walsh, Jack Catterall and debutant Jack Flattley also feature.

“It’s still going to be a great card without that fight,” said Blackledge. “There’s Terry Flanagan, Liam Smith, Derry Matthews. I’ve got a tough fight on that card too. There’s some top fighters appearing and some very good prospects too.

“Jack Flatley is one to watch out for. He’s been around the country sparring all the top pros in preparation for his debut.”

Meanwhile Blackledge faces a tough test in his first defence of his title against Lee Markham (14-2-1) on October 10th.

The 168-pounder, ranked at number six in the British rankings, attained his Commonwealth title with a career-best performance against the highly-rated Liam Cameron on April 4th in Blackburn King George’s Hall.

“It’s great to be involved in something like this,” said Blackledge. “I’m confident - otherwise I wouldn’t put my title on the line.

“He’s not taking my title off me. I’ll be at 110% for this one. I’m the champion and we’ll fight my fight, not his.”

The Essex challenger, branded as ‘Banjo’, lost out to Jahmaine Smyle (11-4-2) in March this year with the vacant English super-middleweight Championship on the line, followed by his stalemate with bitter rival Frank Buglioni (17-1-1) two months later for the WBO European super-middleweight strap.

The match-up will likely be a tasty affair between two aggressive and game, top 10 ranked contenders and the victor will possibly get a shot at the hard-hitting Londoner ‘The Wiseguy’ following his WBA World super-middleweight challenge against champion Fedor Chudinov (13-0) on September 26th in Wembley Arena.