Luke Blackledge feels that Chris Eubank Jr has a lot of building to do if he’s to replenish the perception that the boxing public have of him.
The 27-year-old has come under fire after his latest withdrawal, despite his ‘severe’ elbow injury being ratified by a doctor from the British Board of Control.
The middleweight had been scheduled to defend his British belt against Tommy Langford at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on October 22nd until sustaining the damage in sparring.
The latest news, which prompted his challenger to brand the UK number one as a “time waster”, comes just a couple of months after Eubank Jr failed to put pen to paper for a contest with Kazakhstan king Gennady Golovkin.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn had confirmed that negotiations to take on GGG for his WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight titles had been abandoned due to “impossible” demands that had been made by Chris Eubank Sr and his son.
“I can’t believe that,” said Blackledge, who is expected to take on Callum Smith for the Lonsdale Belt at 168lbs before the end of November.
“I think he would’ve beat Tommy Langford. All boxers get bad elbows; you would have to chop mine off to prevent me from fighting for a British title.
“All these withdrawals can’t be helping him. I think he’s got a lot to do to alter the perception that the public have of him.”
Blackledge added: “I think it’s probably his dad that is complicating matters. They were offered a lot of money for the Golovkin fight and they apparently wanted more.
“I don’t think he’s above British level at all. I think he’s still round about that level. He is a good fighter and he has proved himself to an extent.
“He’s a young, confident kid, he’s got a lot of belief and a good arrogance about him. That’s why he performs so well in fights.
“He’s not ready for GGG yet though. Kell Brook is without a doubt at a better level than Eubank Jr. If the fight was made it would just be the same outcome.”
Meanwhile, the former Commonwealth champion is backing Anthony Crolla to do the business at the weekend as “Million Dollar” defends his WBA World lightweight title against Jorge Linares at the Manchester Arena.
Blackledge confessed to having plenty of respect for the Mancunian, who has been made to work hard to get to the top.
Crolla had made 20 professional appearances before even getting a shot at the English title at super featherweight in 2010.
Following the calculated and clinical display that saw off Ismael Barroso last time out, Blackledge said: “I hope Crolla can do it. He’s on another home show in front of his own support. He was very impressive last time out.
“I wouldn’t say Crolla was under-rated but he does seem to go under the radar slightly. He’s done things the hard way and I respect that.
“He’s worked his way up from the bottom. Now he’s a world champion and he’s fighting for life-changing money. All the graft that he’s put in to the sport is paying off and he fully deserves it.”