It’s been a long road but former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge is now hungrier than ever to get back to winning ways.
The 28-year-old has been set back through injury and illness since being stopped by Zach Parker in their British title eliminator in September, plagued by the fear that he may never compete again, but the comeback is now only days away.
The Clitheroe-born boxer faces journeyman Darren Snow on August 17th as he returns to the Colne Muni for the first time in more than four years.
“The fight isn’t far away now and I can’t wait to get back in there,” he said. “I’ve been out since September but it feels like even longer.
“On the plus side I’ve been able to rest my head and body. I’ve not taken any punishment over the last 11 months, there hasn’t been any stress on my body. I feel refreshed and I feel like I’ve got the hunger back.”
It’s been 15 months since Blackledge last enjoyed the sweet smell of success when registering the eighth knockout of his career against Olegs Fedotovs at Bolton Whites Hotel.
That came inbetween his unsuccessful British title challenge against Callum Smith, though he went 10 rounds with the owner of the Lonsdale Belt, and a unanimous decision loss to Lolenga Mock in Denmark.
“I definitely need to get back to winning ways,” said Blackledge. “I’ve forgotten what it feels like to win. It hasn’t happened in a while.
“I’ve been out for a long time so I’ve taken steps back. I was on the up before and now I want to get back there. I always back myself to win, even if I’m up against the best fighter in the world.
“I’m a confident fighter. I’m still young in boxing terms but I’ve got a lot of experience. There’s no need to rush, I’m just going to take my time and build myself back up. I can say, 100%, that I’ll be a champion again next year.”