Clitheroe boxer Blackledge in shape for title tilt

Luke Blackledge
Luke Blackledge

EXPECTANT father Luke Blackledge feels he’s in great shape ahead of his BBBofC Central Area super middleweight title fight.

The 22-year-old hasn’t only trimmed his physique in preparation for Sunday’s bout at De Vere Whites, at Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium, he’s undergone a complete transformation in terms of attitude and mentality.

Since Farai Musiyiwa blemished his record in November at Hull’s City Hall, coach Kevin Maree has put Blackledge through a strict and rigorous regime aimed at getting the best out of his burgeoning student.

“Training has been going great,” beamed Blackledge.

“It’s been really hard work so I’ll just keep ticking over this week in the run up to the fight.

“I just need to get my weight off and get my heart rate up with cardio every now and again.

“It’ll just be steady away in preparation for Sunday.

“I feel really good. I’ve trained incredibly hard for this title fight so there’s no excuses. I’ve really upped my training and done everything to stick to the schedule. The diet has been hard work but I’m determined to turn things around from my last outing. That draw gave me the kick that I needed.”

The Clitheroe fighter had been scheduled to face Wayne Reed for the belt, but the 25-year-old Sheffield star recently vacated the title. Blackledge will now lock horns with Welsh fighter Nathan King who boasts 12 wins from 29 contests.

“It should be a good fight because they’ve changed my opponent now,” Blackledge said.

“Wayne Reed has pulled out so he’s been stripped of the title. Now that it’s vacant I’ll fight Nathan King for the belt.

“I don’t know a lot about him but I know he’s a forward fighter like myself.

“If I put pressure on him then I should box his head off.

“I trained to fight Wayne who is a really awkward southpaw but my new opponent is supposed to be decent as well. I’m not bothered who gets put in front of me though. I just need to go out there and get the job done.”

A victory for Blackledge would provide him with the perfect springboard for further title opportunities. Britain’s number eight in the light-heavyweight rankings is determined to add this title to his British Masters success in a bid to challenge English title holder Rocky Fielding.

“I want to get back to winning ways especially after my last performance,” he said. “I’m confident and I just want to get in to the ring now. It feels like it’s dragged a bit this time because my preparation has been so intense.

“I’m going to give everything to get another title under my belt. If I get this then the next is the English title which is what Rocky Fielding has. That’s the next step and I’m determined to move forward. I’ve got to win.”