Luke Blackledge is certain that another expedition to Germany will help him get ready for the challenge ahead in his career.
The 25-year-old will fly over to Berlin at the weekend to trade blows with Tyron Zeuge as the super-middleweight, trained by light heavyweight world title-holder Juergen Braehmer, bids to swipe Giovanni De Carolis’ WBA strap from his clutches.
Blackledge, who is the Commonwealth champion in the 168lb division, helped Zeuge polish his preparations as he claimed a unanimous decision victory over Ruben Eduardo Acosta at the MBS Arena in Brandenburg in April.
And the Elite boxer clearly left a lasting impression having been invited back to put the German number three through his paces ahead of his first world title fight on July 16th.
De Carolis (24-6, 12 KOs), 31, of Italy, won a secondary 168-pound world title on January 9th, when he knocked out Vincent Feigenbutz in the 11th round. The fight was a rematch of a close decision loss to Feigenbutz in October.
With a victory, Zeuge (18-0, 10 KOs), 23, would become Germany’s youngest world titleholder, breaking the record held by Graciano Rocchigiani (24 years and 73 days) by eight days.
“I’m going to Berlin in Germany to spar with Tyron Zeuge again,” said Blackledge. “I flew out there before to help him prepare for a fight and now I’m doing the same again ahead of his world title contest.
“He’s heavy-handed, he can sometimes be a bit lazy because he’s reliant on his strength, but he’s got unbelievable power. I did okay against him last time because I applied a lot of pressure. It was a really good experience.”
The British number eight added: “He’s 18-0 with 10 knockouts and he fights at my weight. He’s fighting at the level that I want to be at so it’s a good test. Maybe I’ll fight him for a belt some time.
“He’s using me to build in to his fight - the last two hard weeks. I’ll be sparring him about three times a week to prepare him for his 12-rounder.
“He’s fighting on the same date as me so it works out well for us both. I’ve been getting some good rounds in over here too with Jack Flatley who is fighting on the same bill as me.
“There are some really big hitters in the super-middleweight division so it will definitely prepare me for that.
“Most fighters are athletes in that division and have a lot of qualities; speed, agility and power. It’s on fire at the moment and it’s the most exciting division to be in.”
While James De Gale, who made a second defence of his IBF World crown against Rogelio Medina, and Callum Smith, who continued his progression with the stoppage of Cesar Hernan Reynoso last month, lead the way for British super-middleweights the division is set to be shook up once more this weekend.
The dust up between Martin Murray and George Groves will act as chief support to Anthony Joshua’s IBF World heavyweight title defence against Dominic Breazeale at the O2 Arena in London.
“Martin Murray and George Groves are two prime examples of how good the division is,” said Blackledge. “Groves is one of the biggest punchers in the division but let’s see how he copes with Murray.
“I think Murray has got a great chance of beating Groves. He’s really under-estimated but when he’s up against it that’s when he performs. He did well against Golovkin but switched off slightly against Abraham and may have gone in to the fight with the wrong game plan.”
Blackledge, who sparred with Murray at his Bolton-based hub prior to the triumph over Cedric Spera, added: “He’s got to put a lot of pressure on Groves. He needs to implement a lot of feints with good head movement and foot work.
“He’s got to work his body too and take Groves’s jab away from him. That’s Groves’s best tool. Groves has got a punchers’ chance because he can hit but I think Murray can do it.
“We took lumps out of each other. He’s filled out a lot, he’s a big super-middleweight and he’s got very good timing with his body shots.”