Clitheroe’s former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge has landed another top 10 hit after shading his contest with durable journeyman Darryl Sharp.
The 28-year-old was given the nod when edging a war of attrition at the Bolton Whites Hotel on a night where one-time stablemate Jack Flatley and Jack Cullen were crowned English champions.
Blackledge, who is looking to come back down to 168lbs, jumped to ninth in the UK rankings in the light heavyweight division, a yard governed by the likes of Anthony Yarde and Joshua Buatsi.
After claiming his 26th victory of his professional career, he said: “I ended up making hard work of it for myself.
“It should have been an easy night’s work but it didn’t work out that way.
“We had a clash of heads in the first round and I had blood going in my eye.
“From that point I didn’t stick to the fight plan or my boxing.
“I got caught clean on the chin in the second round and he rocked me a bit but I came back round.
“I outworked him in the end and got the win.
“I thought I won four of the six rounds.
“I had bad cuts over both eyes, which restricted my vision, but it was a good fight and I’ve just got to move forwards now.”
“It doesn’t matter how you win them.
“I got the win, that’s the main thing, and now I’m back in the top 10 in the country.
“The last time I was ranked that high up was when I fought Zach Parker about three years ago in an eliminator for the British title.
“It feels good to be back in there.”
Blackledge hasn’t owned a title since relinquishing his multi-coloured strap two-and-a-half years ago.
He was just one win away from owning the Commonwealth belt outright at super-middleweight but the lure of a shot at the prestigious Lord Lonsdale belt against holder Callum Smith, now WBA (Super) and The Ring champion, proved too hypnotic.
Now Blackledge is launching an assault to claim another crown. “I want to re-establish myself and win the British title,” he said.
“I honestly believe that I can win it.
“I’m 28 so I’ve still got time on my side.
“It’s been a lot tougher trying to break back in to it and now I’ve promised my baby boy, Lucas, that I will become a champion again. I know what it takes to get there; I’ve got to go through hell to become a champion.
“I’ve got to dedicate myself and I want to do things right this time because this is my very last chance.
“I want to give it 110%. I feel like this is my time, even if my last performance wasn’t my best. I’m putting the work in.”
Luke, who is fighting at Colne Muni on June 30th, would like to thank his main sponsor, AJ Wood Ltd, and all his fans for their ongoing support.