Boxer Blackledge makes changes in bid to rebuild

Luke Blackledge, right, in his last outing against Rocky Fielding at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester in November
Luke Blackledge, right, in his last outing against Rocky Fielding at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester in November

Clitheroe boxer Luke Blackledge has gone back to basics in a bid to get his career back on track.

Following his unsuccessful challenge of Rocky Fielding’s Commonwealth super middleweight title on the undercard of Carl Froch’s victory over George Groves in November last year, the 23-year-old has parted company with coach Kevin Maree and teamed up with former pro Alex Matvienko at Elite Boxing in Bolton.

The ‘One Man Riot’, who signed off with a British Masters light middleweight triumph over Geraint Harvey four years ago, has taken Blackledge under his wing and is intent on adding technique and calculation to the power and aggression already in his arsenal. And there’s no doubting that Matvienko has got a finely decorated canvas to work from.

“I’m dedicated again and ready to rebuild,” Blackledge said. “I had a bit of time off over Christmas but I’m training every day again now and I can’t wait to get back going. Alex has been a professional and he’s really experienced so he’ll help to move me on in my career. I feel like I’m improving and learning all the time and he’s teaching me new things.”

Blackledge, who owns British Masters light heavyweight and International Masters super middleweight belts, added: “I’m 23 so I’m still young but I’ve had great experience. I’ve fought for world titles and already had 18 professional fights. So now I’m going to slow things back down and rebuild. I’ve found my feet and I’m enjoying where I am.

“They are taking me back to basics. I had an unlicensed background, I never had an amateur fight, so I’m starting again. I’m looking at footwork, technique, spinning off, generating power from my legs, working the ring better, and not just concentrating on my upper body strength. I’ll be a more rounded fighter.”

After a deserved break, manager Steve Woods announced that Blackledge would appear on the bill at Colne Muni on April 16th, though the hard-hitting fighter is yet to be matched with an opponent.

From there, Blackledge’s ambition has sent him in search of the prestigious Lonsdale belt, currently held by Callum Smith, though the undefeated Liverpool fighter, who also owns the WBC International title, is expected to go on and compete for more lucrative hauls.

“I’m back to square one now,” said Blackledge. “I’m fighting on April 11th in Colne then my manager Steve Woods is looking at a potential English title shot. I want to get back in the ring and return to winning ways. It’s important that I rebuild now.

“I need to get a few fights under my belt, build myself back up, then fight for the English. I need to get my support behind me again, starting next month. I’m feeling sharp, I’ve been sparring with some good pros including Martin Murray, and I’m ready to go.”

Anybody wanting tickets for the upcoming show can contact Luke on 07731 542103.