Luke’s title bid is dashed

Sometimes a blemish on a professional boxer’s record can prove detrimental to their evolution in the sport.

But on occasions those statistics can bear false representation and ultimately aid a fighter’s development.

That’s certainly the case for powerhouse boxer Luke Blackledge who, through circumstances beyond his control, had another stalemate marked indelibly on his CV at the weekend.

Gunning for the BBBofC super middleweight Central Area title - having already won British and International Masters accolades - the 22-year-old was stopped in his tracks when a ringside doctor deemed a laceration above the eye of opponent Alastair Warren, sustained in an accidental head clash in the opening round, too severe for the bout to continue.

With the fight grinding to a halt before the required four-round cut-off point, by law referee John Latham had no other option but to award a technical draw which left the belt vacant.

Though Blackledge and trainer Kevin Maree admitted to being ‘devastated’ by the outcome, his deceptive record could now bring the bigger names out of the woodwork.

Blackledge, whose record now stands at 13(5)-1(0)-2, said: “I’m devastated because I wanted to go on and win the title but that’s how it goes. By law the fight has to go four rounds for a decision to stand. My manager has said I can get back out in a couple of weeks because I want to win. I lost my last fight in Denmark for the WBC Youth World super middleweight title and now I’ve got a draw.

“I’m angry and annoyed but it’s out of my control. I just want to get back out there and win. I’m devastated because I was controlling the fight yet didn’t get the title that I was going for.”

The raw talent, with no amateur upbringing, was aggressive from the opening bell and immediately pinned his foe to the ropes with a stinging, relentless onslaught. The clash came early and from that point spectators on the front row were slapped with the blood and vapour of Warren every time his jaw took a punch.

Blackledge tucked in low, fighting almost at waist height and giving his opponent little to aim at, pummeling his frame mercilessly before moving out and finding aperture’s in Warren’s defence to find his chin.

That’s how the script read throughout the two rounds, until the contest was postponed prematurely. “I most definitely thought I’d be getting my third belt,” he said. “I was winning the first two rounds until the referee stopped it because of a head clash in the first round. Eventually they stopped the fight and it goes down as a draw.

“I was taking my time and readying myself for a 10-round fight. When he got caught he went for it and I was tucking up, moving my head and picking my shots a bit more. He was smothering me a bit and it got a bit enclosed; he was good at getting in close and leaning on me but I used my jab and worked his body. I felt good in there.”

Blackledge added: “I’ve been working on moving my head a lot more because I’ll need that for the big fights with Rocky Fielding and Eubank Jnr. I don’t think Warren would have the rematch because I was winning the rounds and he won’t be fighting for a while anyway. He just kept diving in with his head and when you fight like that you can get cut off anybody.

“I felt like the stoppage was coming but obviously the referee stopped it before I could stop him. I won the rounds but I’ve got two draws on my record now. I still feel I deserve the big fights. I’ve had two massive fights in Denmark and I still deserve big fights in the UK.”