Opportunity knocks for Luke on Groves/Smith bill in Saudi

Luke Blackledge in action against Ishmael Tetteh. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Luke Blackledge in action against Ishmael Tetteh. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
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Luke Blackledge could be given a slot on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight final between George Groves and Callum Smith next month.

The contest between two of Britain’s best at 168lbs will take place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City in Saudi Arabia - with Groves’ WBA world title on the line - and Blackledge could yet feature.

Talks are still ongoing to match the former Commonwealth champion against unbeaten Lennon Clarke, the holder of the International Boxing Organization Continental title in that division.

It’s a huge opportunity for the Clitheroe fighter, who lost to Smith when challenge for his Lonsdale strap in 2016, but he won’t be jumping in to anything just yet.

“I’m either going to be fighting at Victoria Warehouse on September 15th unless the fight that is being scheduled with Lennox Clarke comes off on the World Boxing Super Series undercard,” he said.

“They’ve offered me a shot at the International Boxing Organization Continental Super Middleweight Title against Clarke, who is ranked 10th in Britain.

“He’s unbeaten but I’m confident that I would have too much for him. I would make my experience count. He’s not really beaten anybody. It’s not an impressive record.

“I have to beat these lads if I want to get back in to the top 10. I’ll take that fight if everything is right. It would be an amazing opportunity to fight on that show.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career, though, so it’s time to be a bit smarter and a bit wiser. I don’t need to take every fight that’s offered to me. Every fight I had was difficult last year.”

Blackledge did exactly what was asked of him when overpowering and outclassing Darren Snow at Colne Muni.

The 28-year-old had far too much for the journeyman and didn’t give him a moments peace before stopping him in the second round.

Blackledge worked the torso well, switching to head on occasions when Snow’s guard dropped, and threatened with the overhand right.

His opponent went down twice in the second round before two big rights upstairs and a thudding blow to the body finished things off: “The performance was okay,” he said. “I would have preferred to have got more rounds in because we’d brought in a durable opponent but I was at a totally different level.

“Everything was good. A lot of people have told me that it didn’t look like I’d been out of the ring for so long. I’ve been working hard in the gym and I’m an experienced fighter. It all came back to me straight away. That’s my style. I always put a lot of pressure on and work the body and head. We’re going to up the calibre of opponent next time.”

Blackledge, now training with Matt Bolton in Darwen, added: “I’m in a good place at the moment. I’m enjoying my training and working with my team. I’m already seeing improvements. The things we worked on, such as range, feet, feints and my jab, all came off in the fight. We were working on big hooks and keeping them long as well.”