Luke Blackledge revealed that he’s got much more in his locker after the super-middleweight defended his Commonwealth crown for a second time.
The 25-year-old, who has previously beaten Liam Cameron and Lee Markham to take ownership of the strap, secured his first stoppage in almost two years when dropping Ishmael Tetteh in the fifth round of his 25th professional contest at the Macron Stadium.
The champion breezed through the opening stanza, making the Ghanaian aware of his presence with a number of damaging right hooks and a collection of head to body combinations.
Tetteh, who has challenged for WBO Africa and IBF Continental Africa titles in the past, opened up in the second and applied the pressure which forced Blackledge to up his work rate.
Blackledge, fighting live on BoxNation for the second time having signed a contract with Frank Warren’s promotion, ducked and weaved well, taking shots on his gloves, to avoid any genuine threat and that provided the platform to attack on the counter.
The title-holder’s movement was tested again in the third with Tetteh switching to the aggressor but again it was Blackledge who was the more polished, economical performer as he picked his foe off with close range offensives through the middle before moving to the outside.
I got a good five rounds in but I wasn’t too happy with the performanceLuke Blackledge
Alex Matvienko’s student came out on top in the fourth round, as Tetteh employed grabbing tactics to try and slow down the pace of the bout, before the fifth proved the final episode.
Blackledge took the wind out of a tiring Tetteh with some crushing shots to the torso, though it was a “phantom punch” that dropped the away fighter to his knees.
Tetteh stooped to evade an innocuous-looking right but, inexplicably, stayed down and failed to beat referee Terry O’Connor’s count.
“I got a good five rounds in but I wasn’t too happy with the performance,” said Blackledge. “I did what I had to do though.
“I felt I made a lot of mistakes in there but I got the rounds in and it’s all good experience. I’m only 25 and I’m still learning.
“I won, got the stoppage and I’ve defended my title. I want a big fight now.”
He added: “This title means everything. That belt has got me where I am now. It’s got me a contract with BoxNation and fights on TV.
“It’s not just come over night. I’ve grafted and I’ve been all over the world training and fighting.
“I’ve had 25 fights now so it hasn’t come easy.
“I’ve taken a lot of hard fights. It’s taken a lot of years to get where I am. I just want to keep learning and keep improving.”