Former Commonwealth champion Luke Blackledge is ready for a big year in boxing
Clitheroe super-middleweight boxer Luke Blackledge has vowed to get back to his best - come hell or high water.
The 28-year-old has confirmed that he will be returning to the scene of one of his most memorable nights in the sport next month to compete for the 34th time of his professional tenure.
Blackledge out-pointed Liam Cameron at King George’s Hall in Blackburn back in 2015 to land the Commonwealth title at 168lbs.
Judge Michael Alexander scored the contest by the widest margin, awarding it to the champion 117-112, with Howard John Foster going 116-113 while Mark Lyson saw a much tighter affair with 115-114.
The unanimous verdict gave Blackledge his third win in succession at the venue with the capture of the WBC International Silver title against Philip Kotey sandwiching his triumph over Bulgarian Konstantin Alexandrov.
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An injury sustained to his right hand had thrown Blackledge’s involvement on Saturday, March 30th in to doubt but he’s been given the green light to get back in to the ring.
“I picked up a bit of an injury so there was a chance that I wasn’t going to fight,” he said. “I’ve left it for a little bit and it’s a lot better now.
“It is my right hand but I’ve been punching with it in the gym again and it feels alright. I’ve just been ticking over but I’m ready to go again now.
“I won the Commonwealth title in Blackburn and I won the WBC International Silver title there as well.
“I’ve won two good belts at the venue so I’m ready to put on another good display. The Commonwealth is a massive title and that was the biggest night of my career.
“I’m going to get some good fights in me and build my way back up. I want to get some big title fights again.”
The one-time British title challenger has already seen a couple of big paydays slip from his grasp as former WBO World middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and Darryll Williams, who challenged Zack Parker for the Lonsdale strap, declined offers.
“I accepted a fight against Billy Joe Saunders,” revealed Blackledge. “I’m not saying I would have beaten him but it was a situation where I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He’s a world class fighter but they are declining me for a reason.
“I’ll 100% be back at that level. I’ve been involved in big fights since day one and I believe I’ll get there again.
“It’s down to me; how much do I want it? I’m going to put my body through hell to get there because I’m still hungry enough for it.”
Blackledge, who beat Harry Matthews at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester before Christmas, says he has taken confidence from seeing what Rocky Fielding has gone on to achieve.
The Liverpudlian, who stopped Blackledge in the first round of their meeting in 2013, fought Saul Alvarez at Madison Square Garden with his World Boxing Association World super-middleweight belt on the line.
Blackledge said: “There have been quite a lot of former Commonwealth champions who have gone on to fight for World titles. Look at Rocky Fielding - he did it and ended up fighting Canelo Alvarez in America.
“It shows that it can happen. I’ve just got to keep fit and active and I need to stay ready because I’m always having fights offered.”