Super-middleweight boxer Luke Blackledge knows that he’s got to take a risk if he is to get the reward.
The 27-year-old has jumped in at the deep end on more than one occasion during his career, facing the likes of Mads Larsen, Erik Skoglund and Lolenga Mock in their own back gardens, taking on Rocky Fielding at a couple of days notice and going up against Callum Smith when nobody else would.
It’s that sort of attitude, coupled with his growth as a more technical fighter, that has seen the Elite Boxing trained pugilist become a Commonwealth champion.
Now, having relinquished his most prized possession having defended his reign twice, the 168lb supremo will look to push him back in to contention for a second shot at the Lord Lonsdale Belt.
Blackledge challenges unbeaten knockout specialist Zach Parker in a British title eliminator on Saturday at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, warming the crowd up for the main event as Smith goes head-to-head with Skoglund in their World Boxing Super Series quarter-final.
“Preparation has gone really well for this fight,” said Blackledge, who will have coach Alex Matvienko in his corner. “It’s gone much better than my last one. I had a good camp in Germany but it was hard to monitor everything because I was away from home.
“My diet suffered as a result but over here I get all my food products from sponsors, I get my cryotherapy and my physiotherapy. I’ve had a top camp for this fight.
“I feel very good and I’m confident. Training has been hard, I’ve had a tough 10 weeks, so I’m buzzing.
“It’s my third fight on the bounce. After Fedotovs I went straight in to the fight with Lolenga Mock. That was a tough fight in Denmark which could’ve gone either way.
“I want to do a number on this kid live on ITV4. It just shows how big boxing is getting again in the UK.
“I’ve been getting a lot of TV coverage and recognition recently. There’s a lot of demand for the sport again and this bill will be another massive one.”
With the opportunity to face the winner of holder Rocky Fielding or David Brophy, who meet at the same venue on September 30th, Blackledge added: “This is a massive opportunity for me because it can give me another shot at the British title. It’s huge, fighting an unbeaten kid on TV. It’s a chance to show what I can do live on TV.
“I need to perform and I can’t wait for it. I’ve had a lot of good sparring in readiness. Everything has gone really well. I’ve done everything by the book so there’s no excuses.
“It would be massive to get another shot at the British title. It’s every fighters dream to win that Lonsdale Belt. I believe that I can achieve that.
“I think I will win at the weekend and I’ll go on to become British champion. Callum Smith has gone on to world level where he should have been before I fought him.
“I’m confident going in to every fight. This is a risky one because he’s up and coming and people rate him very highly but you’ve got to take risks to get the reward.”