Coach hoping to keep fighters apart

Rocky Fielding (left) knocks down Luke Blackledge in their Commonwealth Super Middleweight Title fight at the Phones 4u Arena, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 23, 2013. See PA Story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Rocky Fielding (left) knocks down Luke Blackledge in their Commonwealth Super Middleweight Title fight at the Phones 4u Arena, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 23, 2013. See PA Story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

In an ideal world, for boxing coach Alex Matvienko, both Luke Blackledge and Rocky Fielding can continue to climb up the super-middleweight rankings without the lingering threat of a rematch.

The pair were put together three-and-a-half years ago, with Blackledge in the hands of Kevin Maree, when the Merseysider was crowned king of the Commonwealth following a first round stoppage at the Manchester Arena.

The 29-year-old Liverpudlian, ranked sixth in the UK, will take on John Ryder for the vacant British title at 168lbs at the Echo Arena next month.

And Matvienko, who has formed a tight bond with trainer Oliver Harrison, will be in his corner on the night.

With the Ribble Valley pugilist also chasing the Lord Lonsdale Belt, that was relinquished by parting champion Callum Smith, the Elite Boxing coach said: “Rocky Fielding beats John Ryder up. I like John, he’s a very tough fighter, but I can’t see this going past six rounds.

“Rocky is too big, too strong and too elusive. John will get caught with uppercuts, he’ll get hit hard to the head and body, and he’ll get stopped.

“Rocky beats most people on his day. He had a shoot-out with Callum Smith and lost but he did hurt him at one stage. He’s a big puncher.

“I’ll be doing Rocky’s corner at the Echo Arena next month. We’re all sort of a team so a fight between him and Luke is not something that I’d be looking for.

“We are all in the same camp; Oliver Harrison does Luke’s corner as well. If the money is right and both fighters want it then it could happen, but in an ideal world that’s something we avoid.”

Blackledge is expected to be back out for his 28th professional contest on May 6th at Bolton Whites Hotel, located at the Macron Stadium.

However, the finer details have yet to be ironed out. “I’m not really sure what’s happening myself to be honest,” said Matvienko. “It looks like he’ll be fighting in May on a card in Bolton.

“He just wants to get back up the rankings now so he still needs those big fights. Hopefully he’ll work his way towards another title shot.

“We’ll just have to see what gets offered. There’ll be plenty of fighters out there who want to fight Luke.

“They’ll see him as a gate-keeper; opponents will want to see how they measure to what Smith inflicted. The phone will start ringing because they’ll want to test themselves.”

Matvienko added: “There always has and always will be plenty of competition at super-middleweight. It’s the best and hardest division in the world.

“You’ve got Jamie Cox, George Groves, Mark Heffron, James DeGale, Rocky Fielding, and they’re all English. You’re not even touching the rest of the world there.

“Looking back you’ve got Eubank, Benn, Collins and Wharton as well. It’s always been rife with world class fighters.

“Super-middleweight, 168lbs, is the average size of a man so they’re blessed with both movement and power.”