Clitheroe fighter Luke Blackledge is grafting ahead of Colne Muni return

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

Former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge says he’s working hard to get back to where he was.

The 28-year-old has been putting the hours in with coach Matt Bolton at his stable in Darwen ahead of his 35th contest as a professional.

The super middleweight fighter hasn’t owned a belt in more than two-and-a-half years having relinquished his most prized possession to challenge Callum Smith’s reign as Britain’s best at 168lbs.

Blackledge, who out-lasted the likes of Rocky Fielding, George Groves and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam against the WBA (Super) and WBC Diamond belt owner, was just one defence short of owning the strap outright having seen off Liam Cameron, Lee Markham and Ishmael Tetteh.

He went on to suffer a sickening first round knockout to Zach Parker at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in September 2017 in a final eliminator for the Lord Lonsdale Belt, but hasn’t been considered for anything of that ilk since.

The one-time WBC Silver international supremo said: “Everything is fine, I’ve just got to stay focused, stay in the gym and get another win.

“Matt Bolton has been good, we get along well. He’s not the most experienced coach in the world, but we work well together.

“He’s trying to get me back to doing the basics. I’ve not been consistent in my training so I’ve got to try and get back to where I was.

“That’s going to take a lot of work, but I want to get back to fighting for titles. I want to get back in to a position to win belts.

“He knows what I need to work on, we’re looking to improve everything in order to make me a better fighter.”

Blackledge, who has won three of his last four bouts, will look to repair the damage to his CV, caused by a shock defeat to Anthony Fox, when he returns to Colne Muni on June 30th.

He was convincingly out-pointed by ‘The Matador’ in October at the town’s multi-purpose complex on promoter Frank Duffin’s show.

That was his only defeat at the venue in six outings. “I’m still waiting for the phone call from Kevin Maree to confirm my opponent,” said Blackledge.

“It will be good to get back fighting at Colne. It’s a good venue and there’s always a good atmosphere. It’s one of the best small hall venues that I’ve fought at, without a doubt.”

Anybody wishing to purchase tickets for the event can do so by contacting Luke via social media.

Meanwhile, with Matchroom head honcho Eddie Hearn outlining proposals for a ‘super-fight’ between Liverpudlian Smith and WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring and IBF king of the middleweight division Saul Alvarez, Clitheroe-based fighter Blackledge had his say on the prospect.

“Callum Smith is a beast,” he said. “He was up against a world class opponent at Madison Square Garden and he demolished him.

“That shows just how well I did against him. There aren’t many fighters who go 10 rounds with him.

“I think he would have a very good chance of beating Canelo. Alvarez is big, strong and a world class boxer, but Smith is a freak at that weight.”