Luke Blackledge spars with champion Arthur Abraham

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Clitheroe boxer Luke Blackledge has flown to Germany to help Arthur Abraham prepare for the defence of his WBO super middleweight title.

The 34-year-old Armenian fighter will take on Serbian foe Nikola Sjekloca at Berlin’s Velodrome next month after ending his trilogy against Robert Stieglitz with victory.

Blackledge was 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 now he’ll hope to have a similar impact as he spars the globe’s fourth ranked super middleweight fighter.

Prior to embarking on the two-week camp, Blackledge saw off the challenge of seasoned fighter Jody Meikle unanimously on Friday night at Colne Muni on the undercard of Shayne Singleton’s WBC International Silver title triumph over Hungarian Laszlos Fazekas.

It was the 23-year-old’s first outing since his unsuccessful challenge of Rocky Fielding’s Commonwealth super middleweight title in November last year, and the baptism of his newly-formed partnership with one-time pro Alex Matvienko at Elite Boxing in Bolton.

The opening round of six saw Blackledge step on to his foe, moving in with piercing combinations from body to head, his jab was exposing Meikle’s penetrable guard.

Blackledge continued in a similar vein in the second stanza, but it was a round that also saw the home fighter’s defence penetrated on numerous occasions as he was tagged too often by the journeyman.

The third was routine for Blackledge, and the fourth was dominant as he landed punishing combos. However, the Scunthorpe boxer’s jab was still finding a way through.

The penultimate round saw Blackledge revert to the head, landing powerful strikes, while the final round saw him work the angles more, as, unsurprisingly, referee Phil Edwards raised his arm to mark a unanimous 60-54 points victory.

Meanwhile, Clitheroe coach Kevin Maree watched from the corner at Colne as his student Qasim Niaz extended his 100% by dismantling Birmingham’s Dee Mitchell.

The talented 22-year-old made it four wins from as many professional bouts, producing one of his most accomplished performances to date.