Luke Blackledge believes that undefeated super-middleweight Callum Smith will bring out the best in him when the pair meet in a British title showdown.
With a cut off point of August 10th having been set for purse bids the finer details such as a time, a place and a promoter have yet to be verified though the British Boxing Board of Control has ordered the contest to go ahead before the end of November.
Holder Smith, who boasts 20 professional victories with three-quarters of those coming within the distance, claimed the Lonsdale Belt last year when downing Rocky Fielding in the opening round at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
The mandatory challenger, who trains out of Elite Boxing in Bolton, said: “I’ve got to fight for the British title before the end of November. Purse bids need to be submitted by August 10th so from that point we’ll know whose show we’re going to be on.
“I’ll be fighting Callum Smith or, if he decides to vacate, I’ll be fighting somebody else for the belt. Either way I’m not bothered. I’ve been waiting a long time to be given a shot at the British title and it’s finally arrived.
“He’s a top, world class fighter but that’s the game that I’m in. The better the opponent the better I perform. Callum Smith will certainly bring out the best in me.
“He is without a doubt one of the best super-middleweights on the planet. He’s up there with the best in the division. He’s very dangerous, a big puncher, he’s got very good timing and a good reach.
“He’s very explosive, shapes himself well to let his hands go, sets traps and he’s a good finisher. He’s a very good all round fighter.”
Blackledge, 25, who is on a seven fight winning streak, acknowledges that he’s at that stage of his career where every outing will prove to be the ultimate test.
However, Clitheroe’s Commonwealth champion admits that he’s more than ready to prove himself in the 168lb division.
“Callum Smith is big at that weight as well and he’ll take some stopping,” he said. “That’s why he’ll go on to fight the best in the division. I’d imagine he’ll go on to fight Badou Jack for his WBC World title soon.
“But if he’s my opponent then I’ll perform out of my skin because I feel that I’m capable of pulling this off. I’m confident that I can win this fight otherwise I wouldn’t get in to the ring.
“If I have to fight one of the best boxers in the world then so be it. If it’s not Callum Smith it’ll still be one of the top fighters in the UK.
“That’s the nature of the division. I’m at that level where I have to get in with the best because the division is one of the toughest there is. It is full of top fighters.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight though because I want that British title and I want it really bad.
“I was even prepared to drop down a weight and challenge Chris Eubank Jr for his but my chance has come and I’m going to take it with both hands.
“I’m going to have to face world class fighters if I want to progress. I’ve just got to make sure that I’m 100 per cent ready for it.”
Discussions have been ongoing between Blackledge’s manager Steve Wood and promoter Frank Warren regarding a third title defence on a forthcoming BoxNation bill.
Should those plans come to fruition, with a date in September initially identified, Blackledge is eager to face Indian foe Vijender Singh.
“I’m hoping to get another title defence in before that as well,” he said. “My manager has been in London for negotiations with my promoter Frank Warren. Vijender Singh has been calling me out, saying that he’s coming for my Commonwealth title. I’m well up for that fight. They wanted me to go to Delhi to fight him but that isn’t happening.
“I’m the champion so we’ll fight on my terms. If he wants it he can come to me and fight me in my yard.
“He’s a good fighter, he had a very good amateur record, but I think I’m much better and more experienced. That would set me up nicely for my British title fight.”