Luke Blackledge has sacrificed his Commonwealth title in a bid to become the best of British super-middleweights.
The 26-year-old was effectively given an ultimatum moving forward having faced deadlines from both the British Boxing Board of Control and the Commonwealth Council.
The Elite boxer was ordered to face Lonsdale Belt holder Callum Smith before the end of November and defend his title for a third time against unbeaten Australian fighter Zac Dunn.
Due to the close proximity of the proposed contests, the 168lb specialist believed the challenge of doing both was too unrealistic and therefore made the decision to move forward.
“I was given a bit of an ultimatum really - either defend my Commonwealth title against Zac Dunn or fight for the British title,” he said.
“It was one or the other. I didn’t want to lose out on the opportunity to fight for the Lonsdale Belt so I had to make a sacrifice and vacate my title.
“I had a decision to make and it was a tough one. Purse bids went out for both fights - the British Boxing Board of Control scheduled the fight with Callum Smith to take place before the end of November.
“However, the Commonwealth Council had already ordered a defence to take place in December. It just wasn’t possible or logical to do both. There wasn’t enough time.”
Blackledge secured ownership of the strap 16 months ago when earning a unanimous decision victory over Liam Cameron at King George’s Hall in Blackburn.
The Clitheroe fighter then made successful defences against Lee Markham, live on BoxNation at the Manchester Arena, and Ghanaian Ishmael Tetteh, who he floored at Bolton Whites Hotel.
“It was a tough decision but I’ve been Commonwealth champion for two years and I want to move on,” Blackledge said.
“This is more important to me. It’s part and parcel of boxing - you have to make sacrifices if you want to progress.
“Being made the mandatory challenger for a British title has definitely made it easier. I get to keep the belt and I’ve got two of them.
“I won the older version of it and defended the newer version. I’ve got one framed at the gym in Bolton and I’ve got one at home.”
He added: “I’ve definitely enjoyed it. It’s opened a lot of doors for me. I’ve still got my TV contract with Frank Warren so it’s done a lot for me.
“It was great to win the title at home; at King George’s Hall in Blackburn. I’m retiring my Commonwealth belt as champion and now I get to move on to bigger things.
“I didn’t really want to have to do it and I wouldn’t have done it if this opportunity didn’t arise.
“I would’ve been making another defence against Zac Dunn. This just makes me more determined to win the British title now.
“Me and my team will be doing everything we can to get it. I want to add that belt to my collection.”