Luke Blackledge believes he’s destined to join boxing’s elite someday after contributing to the success of some of the globe’s top fighters.
The 23-year-old was part of Arthur Abraham’s preparations in Germany most recently as the Armenian fighter - ranked number four in the world - went on to defend his WBO super middleweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Serbian foe Nikola Sjekloca at Berlin’s Velodrome.
But training with ‘King Arthur’ is just one of the crowning moments on Blackledge’s blossoming resume.
Alex Matvienko’s student, who started out at Kokoro Gym in Accrington, was also called upon by Carl Froch last year ahead of the Cobra’s defence of his WBA World and IBF super middleweight titles against George Groves at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena.
And he’s squared up with interim WBA World middleweight champion Martin Murray - who’ll challenge Max Bursak for the vacant WBC Silver title next month in Monte Carlo - and former Commonwealth and WBC Intercontinental light heavyweight champion Tony Bellew.
Blackledge, who beat Jody Meikle on his comeback at Colne Muni, said: “It was really good. I spent two weeks over there and they’re wanting me to go back. There was a fitness gym, weights gym and a running track so I was kept busy. There were loads of champions in the gym as well, loads of professionals, so I sparred with a few different fighters.
“It was something different. He’s a world champion so obviously it was world class sparring. It was brilliant. I did a few six and eight rounders with him and I got through them all. I worked him hard and it was just a great experience. I’ve learnt a lot from it.
“I’ve now sparred with Froch, Abraham, Martin Murray and Tony Bellew. I’ve come up against some top lads. I’ve mixed it up with a lot of the world’s top fighters.”
Blackledge, who wants Callum Smith’s English title belt by the end of the calendar year, added: “I think I’m destined to be up there with them at some point. I’m back out in July now which will hopefully be building towards a title fight in the summer.
“I’m gunning for the English title. I want to be the English champion before the end of the year.”