Blackledge hoping to end 2018 with a bang on Jolly Boys show

Luke Blackledge  celebrates the win over Ishmael Tetteh. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Luke Blackledge celebrates the win over Ishmael Tetteh. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Luke Blackledge is hell-bent on ending 2018 with a bang.

The 28-year-old will take part in his 33rd contest on Saturday, though the details have yet to be confirmed.

The former Commonwealth champion has suffered a dip in form having lost four of his previous six bouts, including a shock defeat to journeyman Anthony Fox at Colne Muni.

Blackledge, now under the tutelage of Matt Bolton, was out-pointed over six rounds in October and has been chasing a rematch ever since.

“I’m fighting this weekend so it gives me another run out before the end of the year,” he said.

“I tried to get a rematch with the opponent that beat me in Colne but he wouldn’t give me one.

“I want to fight him again because I know he wouldn’t beat me at my best. I was flat, I’d been ill leading up to the fight and I should have pulled out.

“I had a chest infection and I wasn’t fully recovered on the night. Everyone who watched the fight knew it wasn’t me.

“He got a very lucky win and that would never happen again, which is why he won’t give me the rematch.

“I won’t wait around for him though. I’ll move on if he won’t fight me again. It was close the first time but I still thought I had done enough to win the fight.

“If I was firing on all cylinders I would have won comfortably. I had no power, I was lacking sharpness and I was throwing shots in slow motion. My reactions were poor as well.”

The British title challenger, who took now world champion Callum Smith 10 rounds at the Manchester Arena two years ago, had been battling his demons outside the ring during a 11-month hiatus but now he’s determined to make up for lost time.

In his pursuit of another belt, he said: “I needed a kick though because you can switch off every now and again.

“I want to get out there and finish the year off with a win. Then I’m hoping to fight for the English title early in 2019.

“It would be nice to round off the year with a good win. I have to thank my coach, Matt Bolton, for keeping me in the gym.

“Earlier in the year I didn’t think I’d ever get in the ring again. Now I’m sparring top fighters and that’s an achievement in itself from where I was.

“I will definitely win a title next year. I’ve fought at a high level, I’ve been crowned the Commonwealth champion, I’ve been knocking on the door of a potential world title shot, and I’ve still got plenty in the tank. I’m sharper, I’m fitter and I’m ready for a massive 2019.

“I want to get those big fights again. I’ve been offered a lot this year, I’ve had to decline plenty. I want to do things right and I want to be right. I’ll be on point for next year.”