Luke Blackledge feels the super-middleweight division will start taking a truer complexion in the coming months.
Eight of the top 10 British fighters at 168lb are in action before Christmas, including Clitheroe’s Commonwealth champion, with two involved in world title contests.
And Alex Matvienko’s student, who will defend his prized strap against number 10 Lee Markham on BoxNation’s scintillating show on October 10th, feels everything will start to take shape.
With IBF World supremo James DeGale the only inactive fighter among the home grown elite, and Martin Murray having climbed to third following a crushing victory over Jose Miguel Torres at the weekend, Blackledge said: “It’s definitely going to start taking shape. Everyone is fighting with a couple in the top 10 going head-to-head and there’s a few world title fights in there as well.
“It’s an exciting division with some excellent prospects. The top end of the division is full of massive fighters.
“There’s always been a buzz in this division and there always will be. It’s probably the best division at the moment.”
And Blackledge isn’t wrong. The 25-year-old is now among a gang of pugilists trying to maintain the division’s resplendence engineered by the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn.
George Groves is among the supporting cast of Floyd Mayweather’s proclaimed ‘final farewell’ as he tackles Badou Jack for the WBC World title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday while Frank Buglioni challenges Russian Fedor Chudinov’s ownership of the WBA World belt at Wembley Arena later in the month.
Elsewhere, Mark Heffron is scheduled to make his 11th professional bout at Preston’s Evoque Nightclub at the weekend, unbeaten David Brophy is in action in Glasgow in October and Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding contest the vacant British title in an exhilarating match up at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in November.
“There’s some top fighters in the mix,” said Blackledge. “There’s some huge potential match ups in there.
“If Groves comes through his fight, which I hope he does, then it paves the way for a second fight with DeGale.
“But then there’s Buglioni too who is also fighting on the world stage.
“I think even Murray could end up taking on DeGale because he’s at world level.
“He almost pushed Golovkin all the way. But this is all great for the sport.
“It’s great for British boxing to have all these world champions and others fighting for titles as well.”
“Blackledge added: “I want to do the business next month and then I’ll sit down with my team to see what’s next.
“I would love to fight the winner of Buglioni and Chudinov but there’s loads of options. I just need to open the door.
“I’d fight anyone. I’d love a shot at DeGale because I think I’d cause him problems.
“He likes to pick his shots and move around the ring but he’d struggle to cope with my work rate and pressure.
“I would give him something to think about. I don’t think a fight like that is too far down the line for me if I pull it off against Markham.
“I was in the top five a few months ago but I haven’t fought for a while.
“This is a great opportunity for me to get back in there. I’ve just got to win next month and the rest will take care of itself.”