Luke Blackledge hasn’t sustained any physical or mental scarring following his first defeat under coach Alex Matvienko.
In fact, the 26-year-old would have stepped back in the ring the week after his 10th round loss to Callum Smith had the British Boxing Board of Control sanctioned it.
The knockout inflicted by the one-time owner of the Lord Lonsdale strap at super-middleweight forced a mandatory recuperation period but, five months later, the Ribble Valley pugilist is ready to announce his return.
The Elite Boxing representative will appear alongside stablemate Jack Flatley at Bolton Whites Hotel, located in the belly of the Macron Stadium, on May 19th.
“It’s been hard work,” he said. “I’ve had to recover from injury, I’ve had to get over that loss, and when you’ve fought a world class opponent it can take you a while to recover and get back in to it.
“Everybody knew it was a risk fighting Callum Smith. I took a chance and unfortunately it didn’t pay off.
“I took a fight that Badou Jack wouldn’t even take. He’s stepped up in weight because he doesn’t want to fight Callum Smith.
“He’s a world class fighter but I didn’t think that there was too big a gulf in levels between us. I’ve learned a lot from that fight.”
Blackledge added: “I would do it every week if I could, even if I got beat every time. That defeat hasn’t affected me at all. I love fighting, I love competing, I love the sport. You can lose, it’s boxing, that’s just how it goes sometimes.
“I can’t wait to get back in to the ring. I’m hoping to stay active now and take any opportunities that come my way. I want to get back fighting and get a good few wins under my belt.”
Relinquishing his multi-coloured Commonwealth strap and missing out on becoming the best of British has simply exacerbated Blackledge’s hunger for further title tilts.
The 168lb fighter, ranked 10th in the United Kingdom, revealed that his team have been in contact with David Brophy, the Scot who claimed Blackledge’s old crown from Zac Dunn on the Australian’s own patch in March.
However, their advances were knocked back. “I’m ready for another title shot now but we’ll just have to see what comes,” said Blackledge. “I’m trying to get my Commonwealth title back.
“David Brophy is the holder now after winning it in Australia. He took the fight that I declined because I was fighting Callum Smith.
“He beat Zac Dunn, we’ve offered him the fight but he’s declined it. It’s just a waiting game now and it’s doing my head in.”
While that proposal may have proved to be nothing more than a cul-de-sac, there remains many avenues still unobstructed for Blackledge.
He said: “It’s made me hungrier to get that British title. I can’t wait to fight for it again. I’ve got to win it, especially after vacating my Commonwealth title.
“There are loads of tough fights out there and I want those big fights for big titles. I’ve put myself in a position to do that.
“I’m not a champion anymore so I want to graft and get my crown back.
“I would love to fight Tyron Zeuge. He’s set to fight Paul Smith and I’d take on either of them. Zeuge has got the world title at the minute, I’ve held my own in sparring with him, so that’s one I want as well.”
Anybody wishing to purchase tickets for next Friday’s show, which also features unbeaten prospects such as Jack Cullen, Dale Coyne, Zelfa Barrett and Jack Massey, can contact Luke on 07864 816272.