Former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge just wants to stay active

Chad Sugden, pictured, beat Luke Blackledge 78-74 in Nottingham''            Image: Rick Wilks/Primal Pixels
Chad Sugden, pictured, beat Luke Blackledge 78-74 in Nottingham'' Image: Rick Wilks/Primal Pixels

Former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge has taken to the road in a bid to get his career back on track.

The 28-year-old will fight for the second time in as many weeks after agreeing to face unbeaten Ollie Pattison at York Hall in Bethnall Green on July 20th.

The Clitheroe super middleweight, who has been stepping up to 175lbs in a bid to stay active, was out-pointed in a controversial finish against Chad Sugden at Harvey Hadden Sports Village in Nottingham at the weekend.

Six of the eight rounds were scored in favour of the home fighter, a decision contested by boxing promoter Kevin Maree in the aftermath.

“I took the last one at a couple of week’s notice and I won that fight,” said Blackledge. “Kevin Maree was in my corner, he tells me straight, he’s down to earth and honest, and he said that I deserved to win the fight.

“My girlfiriend is my biggest critic and even she said I won the fight. I thought that I had done enough to win it. I would have given him three rounds out of the eight.

“When I found my distance I mauled him. I stayed on him, pressurised him and out-worked him. The referee said that he scored the cleaner punches, though. You’ve just got to take it on the chin.”

Blackledge will be stepping in to the ring with a different mentality when up against two-time ABA Championships finalist Pattison.

Anything other than a stoppage won’t suffice for Blackledge, who is more than privy to the disadvantages an away fighter faces in the sport.

A collection of highly contentious scorecards had the British title challenger down after three rounds against Mads Larsen in Denmark before Blackledge knocked out the Scandinavian ‘Golden Boy’ in the fourth.

“It’s another fight that I’ve taken at short notice,” he said. “I’m back on the road again, fighting in London, and hopefully this time I won’t get robbed.

“The last one was a good learning fight, I took a lot away from it. You’ve got to stop your opponent to win when you’re on the road.

“That’s just how it is. That’s the mentality I’ve got to take in to the ring with me now; I’ve got to knock them out if I’m going to win on the road.”

Blackledge is hoping that this will be his final fling as a light heavyweight as he looks to drop back down to a division more suited to his areas of expertise.

He was both a champion and a challenger at 168lbs and it’s in that category where Blackledge feels he’ll be able to achieve optimum performance.

“Boxing is a tough game to be in,” he said. “I’ve just got to take what I can at the minute and hopefully something big will come out of it. I’ll just keep working hard.

“I want to stay active. I want to be fighting as much as I possibly can. I need to be consistent, but I know that I’m not a light heavyweight and this next one will be my last at 175lbs.

“I want to operate back down at super middleweight, I’m more effective in that division. I have more athleticism at that weight, but the opportunities have been coming at light heavyweight.”