There’s been a recurring theme among the English champions in the super middleweight division in the last decade or so.
Though there’s only been a limited pool of victors in that time frame, there’s certainly been a handful of stars that has spawned from it.
Of the six fighters to hold the prestigious belt aloft there’s been three that have gone on to impact significantly on the hierarchy of boxing.
Since overcoming Alan Page in November 2003, Carl Froch has become one of Britain’s most decorated fighters. In his 25 contests since winning that first title, the Cobra has claimed and retained the Commonwealth, British, WBC, WBA and IBF super middleweight belts.
Then there’s Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith who scooped respective WBA Inter-Continental and WBC International accolades on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s successful WBO International cruiserweight title defence against Julio Cesar Dos Santos last month at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.
Clitheroe’s Luke Blackledge is now awaiting his opportunity with the British Boxing Board of Control set to confirm an English title shot at Blackburn’s King George’s Hall on September 6th.
“I’m waiting for the BBBofC to confirm whether my next fight will be for a title,” said Blackledge. “I’m buzzing at the moment so to get a shot at the English title would be brilliant. I’ve been training really hard for it and I feel I’m back up to that standard. The English would be a massive belt to get hold of.
“I’ve been in the gym, determined to improve. I’ve been working on different techniques, which paid off in my last fight. I’m with Alex Matvienko and it’s going really well. He’s not changed me too much but we’ve been working on my boxing, timing, counter shots, footwork and setting up shots. We’re not changing my style because what I do works.”
Blackledge’s last contest resulted in a stoppage - his first in 16 months - as he took out Darren McKenna at Villa Park’s Holte Suite. That victory has helped bury the disappointments that preceded it against the likes of Alistair Warren and Fielding.
“My last fight was wicked, especially getting the stoppage in the third round. I dropped him in the first with a left body shot and then I stopped him with a right when countering. He was throwing a lazy jab and I caught him over the top. I was really happy with the performance.
“I want to be more active in the new season. I’ve had some setbacks lately but that’s all part of the game. Those disappointments are behind me now and I want to move on, keep developing and continue to improve my record.”