Boxer Luke Blackledge has vowed to make a big comeback by dropping a weight in a bid to retain his Commonwealth crown.
The 27-year-old claimed the vacant super-middleweight strap against Liam Cameron two-and-a-half years ago and the pair could contest the title at 160 lbs after the Yorkshireman snatched the belt off Sam Sheedy.
Blackledge is preparing to bounce back and rebuild having suffered two losses from three contests in 2017, including a first round stoppage in a British title eliminator at the hands of Zach Parker.
“I’m making a big comeback,” he said. “I’ve decided what I want so I’m moving down to middleweight.
“We had an agreement in place when I vacated my Commonwealth title at super-middleweight.
“My manager Steve Wood is looking to get that agreement honoured so I can become the mandatory challenger for Liam Cameron’s title.
“He’s just won it so the rematch could happen. I’m very confident that it’s going to go ahead.
“Winning that belt meant a lot to me and it would mean everything to me to get that belt back at middleweight. It would mean the world and it makes all that hard work worthwhile.”
Blackledge has even lured coach Kevin Maree out of retirement in hope of getting his career back on track and he’ll be working alongside Jeff Thomas and Lee Cutler in Gisburn.
“I’ve got a new team behind me - I’m back with Kevin Maree now,” Blackledge said. “He’s coming out of retirement to coach me.
“I’ve always stayed in touch with him, he did the corner for my last fight, and we’ve always got on really well. He’s always stayed involved.
“I’m looking forward to working with them. I’m already learning new things so I’m enjoying it.”
Blackledge has come through the toughest period of his tenure still smiling and he feels rejuvenated and ready to go again after a brief break.
“The plan is to fight on December 17th in Manchester where I’ll make my middleweight debut, I’ll try and get out again after the New Year and then we’ll look to get the Cameron fight on,” he confirmed.
“I’ve just had a bit of time out. It’ll make a big difference because I’ve had some really hard fights this year and I haven’t been out of the gym.
“I’ve been over to Germany to spar Tyron Zeuge too and the fight with Lolenga Mock was out in Denmark.
“It’s been tough because they’re all big athletes at super-middleweight at the level that I’m fighting at.”
He added: “I’ve not really shown the best of me recently. I’ve been on fire in camp but I’ve not shown that in my fights.
“A defeat is nothing to me. It’s not going to stop me. I love competing and I love boxing; I would fight every day if I could.
“I’ve got to stay dedicated and disciplined. I’ve got to stick at it and hopefully I’ll get the same opportunities at middleweight.”