It seems Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Luke Blackledge is in high demand at present.
The 25-year-old, who trains under former pro Alex Matvienko at Elite Boxing in Bolton, has been approached by a number of high profile names in the sport with regards to sparring opportunities.
Representatives of Sauerland pair George Groves and Erik Skoglund have made enquiries ahead of respective contests against David Brophy and Ryno Liebenberg but Blackledge has opted to rebuff those offers.
Instead the 168lb supremo, who had been set to make the second defence of his strap versus Brophy on May 13th, has flown out to Germany to share the ring with IBF International title-holder Tyron Zeuge, who recently defeated WBO World challenger Nikola Sjekloca.
“I’ve had some great offers for some world class sparring,” said Blackledge. “However, I’ve had to turn them down because it wasn’t what we wanted.
“I could’ve gone out to Sweden to spar with Skoglund for two weeks but it wasn’t right. He’s fighting at light-heavyweight now and preparing for an Inter-Continental title defence. I’m six weeks out from my fight too so the timing just wasn’t right.
“It was just too much of a risk at this stage and it was the same with Groves. They’re both big punchers; Skoglund is a massive light-heavyweight and Groves is one of the biggest hitters in the super-middleweight division.
“If I didn’t have a fight coming up I would’ve definitely have accepted for the experience. I just couldn’t see any benefit for me at this time and I can’t afford the risk of injury when I’ve got a fight on the horizon.”
After the Commonwealth Boxing Council rejected the application for one-time footballer Leon McKenzie to face Blackledge at the Macron Stadium the process of finding an opponent is still ongoing.
“A name has been put to me and Tyron is a similar style of fighter so it will be good preparation for me,” Blackledge said.
“He’s an unbeaten prospect who has 10 knockouts from his 17 wins. It’s a chance for me to get out of my own environment again and get that experience.
“He’s a world class fighter who had more than 100 fights as an amateur. He’s a big puncher and a technically good boxer so it will be a good test.”
Speaking about his potential foe, who he’ll take on on the undercard of Jack Catterall’s WBO Inter-Continental super lightweight scrap against Joe Hughes, Blackledge added: “I want to fight one of the top contenders in the UK which is why the contest with David Brophy was ideal. He’s gone on to fight Groves now though.
“The name that’s been put forward hasn’t been confirmed yet but he’s got a good record. He’s only lost once in 19 fights which came against Frank Buglioni.”