Luke Blackledge has vowed not to take any fruit from boxing’s forbidden tree despite the temptation that surrounds him.
The 28-year-old has been inundated with offers since returning to action but the former Commonwealth champion has a plan and he’s determined to stick to it.
Blackledge could have been the man facing Chris Eubank Jr on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series final between Callum Smith and George Groves in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last month.
And representatives from JJ McDonagh’s camp, who stepped in to the breach at the King Abdullah Sports City, have also been in touch to sound out the potential for a contest in the future.
On top of all that the British Boxing Board of Control approved a request from promoter Lee Eaton to stage an eliminator for the British title between Blackledge and David Brophy.
“I’ve been getting offered a lot of big opportunities,” he said. “One of those is a final eliminator for the British title. I would smash David Brophy so that is an option.
“Should I take the fight with Brophy then it could set up the rematch with Zach Parker, who fights Darryll Williams next month. We’ll just have to see.
“I’ve got my own plans, though, and I need to stick to them. The goal is still to drop to middleweight.
“I’m due to fight again on November 24th in Leeds and that will be my first fight at my new weight. It could be a busy finish to the year for me which sets me up for titles next year.”
Defeats to Smith, Lolenga Mock and Parker curtailed Blackledge’s progress in the 168lb division, as he took big gambles and short notice, but he won’t be making the same mistakes again.
He said: “I’ve fought some of the best names at super-middleweight. I’ve stepped up to take on some top fighters but I won’t be making the mistake of jumping up too far too quickly again. I won’t make the same mistake twice.
“There’s no rush. Some people think I’m past it but I’m only 28 and I feel brilliant. I’m performing well and I still feel really good. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance and I’m going to make the most of it.”
It all begins with ‘The Matador’ Anthony Fox at Colne Municipal Hall on Saturday, October 27th, a bout scheduled for six rounds.
Blackledge breezed past Darren Snow at the same venue in August but he knows that he’s in for a much tougher test this time around.
“I was going to go to Australia to spar Zac Dunn but it was too close to my fight,” he said. “The timing wasn’t ideal because I’ve got a pretty tough fight and I need to be ready.
“He’s got a few good wins on his record, beating a few undefeated kids, so I need to stay switched on.
“He’s a journeyman but he’ll come to win. I’ll need to be at my best. I’ve been putting the work in and I dusted the ring rust off in August.
“I’m looking forward to it but I’ve not had a proper test in a long time. I’ll have to see how I react when somebody is really putting it on me.
“I’ve not had a tough fight since last year when I was in Denmark. I need to put in another good performance next week and then decide what I’m going to do.”