News July 2018

Luke Blackledge ready for Blackburn barnstormer in Commonwealth title bid


By Michael J Jones

AROUND the middle of last year, Lancashire’s ambitious super-middleweight contender Luke Blackledge insisted he was ready for a major fight. While he would end 2014 with solid distance victories over Ghanaian southpaw Philip Kotey and journeyman Konstantin Alexandrov, the requested “big fight” failed to materialise for “Robbo”.

However, his patience has been rewarded. On April 4th in Blackburn, Blackledge faces former ABA champion Liam “Cannonball” Cameron over twelve rounds for the vacant Commonwealth title. The 24 year old Luke is understandably elated to be featuring in a major title bout in his home territory as he told Livefight earlier this week.

“I’ve wanted a fight like this for a while” says Luke over the phone. “It’s a big opportunity for me against a good kid in Cameron. He’s a former ABA champion and I saw his last fight where he won a British title eliminator against Tobias Webb. It should be a great fight as we are both up for it.”

Blackledge turned pro five years ago at 18 after a stint on the unlicensed circuit. Without the usual amateur grounding, the youngster was forced to begin his pro career by taking dangerous fights from the off. The heavy-handed Luke still won all but one of his first 14 contests (one draw) which included upset wins over Phill Fury and a blistering knock-out over the vastly more experienced Mads Larsen in Denmark.

The super-middleweight prospect would then drop a decision to the naturally bigger Erik Skoglund back in Denmark to lose his unbeaten record. Blackledge would subsequently suffer defeat number two just seven months later to Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding in a fight he took on just two days’ notice.

Then Commonwealth champion Fielding would surprisingly take apart his challenger in the first though the beaten man has put the loss firmly down to a learning experience. He boxes against Cameron for the Commonwealth belt vacated by Fielding as the unbeaten scouser targets world honours.

Ironically, Blackledge has been recently engaging in regular sparring sessions with his former victor up in Bolton as both prepare for their next respective ring outings.

“People may go off my loss to Rocky but it was my own fault” reveals Luke. “I had been sparring with Carl Froch that week, then sparred four rounds with Ronnie Heffron on the Thursday so I was drained for the fight on the Saturday.”

“I hate seeing that (Fielding) fight as I think ‘is that really me in there charging in with no game-plan?’ I went in with no tactics and you can’t afford to do that at that level. Sparring is sparring but we’ve done a session a couple of days ago and I’m going back there today so I must have done good.”

While Blackledge has suffered two reverses in his 18-2-2 (6) career, his April 4th opponent Cameron can boast similar figures at 18-3 after dropping decisions to Erick Ochieng, Jez Wilson and, in his last defeat, Rod Smith. Since his last loss, Cameron has rebounded well to out-score Wayne Reed, stop mutual foe Kotey and decision Webb.

“I look at who he has fought and lost to and I feel I’ve fought a lot better people” reasons Blackledge. “The people he’s lost to I don’t believe would ever have beaten me so I think the losses were probably down to something or other. I’m not looking into (those defeats), I’m seeing Cameron is a good kid and I can’t switch off as this Commonwealth shot is my world title fight.”

On paper, Cameron has stopped mutual opponent Kotey but further inspection shows both he and Blackledge fought the African veteran just seven days apart last September. While Blackledge would pound out a ten-round decision to win the vacant WBC International Silver belt, Kotey would retire after four rounds against “Cannonball”.

“It might have given (Cameron) confidence that he’s stopped Kotey after he’d gone the distance with me but there’s no way I could have fought again just a week after a full ten-rounder. My body was still knackered so I just think Kotey was still in the country and took the fight for the money.”

While keeping tight-lipped about his tactics for his bout with Cameron, the confident puncher is promising a real tear up in Blackburn. After his last Commonwealth title shot ended disastrously against Fielding, Luke, trained by former pro Alex Matvienko, is leaving no stone unturned for his second tilt.

“I’m not going into my tactics but in this fight you have two lads who want those big fights and know they have to win to get them. Whoever wins this will be in line for the British title and won’t have to go chasing anybody as the opportunities will come to them.”

“I know what I can do and if I can bring that on the night I honestly think I’ll do the business. This won’t be any chess match its going to be a real tear up.”

Will the plan, should he prevail, be to then target a clash against British champion Paul Smith who recently lost a return match against WBO champion Arthur Abraham?

“I’m not looking past Cameron as he is my focus right now” he insists before continuing, “but I’d definitely want that fight. He’s sat on the title for two years; if a guy like me had done that they’d have stripped me in no time!”

We conclude with “Robbo” commentating on the excellent support he has received in the build up to next month’s title fight.

“The support from everyone has been amazing. I don’t think there’s ever been a Commonwealth title fight in Blackburn before so it’s extra special getting this fight at home. All my friends and family will be watching and I’ve even had a lot of people who don’t usually follow boxing wanting to come and watch me fight.”

“I want to say a big thank you to all of my fans who have supported me through my career and also all of my sponsors; AJ Wood Ltd, SAGraphics Ltd, Natural Sports Food, New Age Hydrophonics and Home Run Chicken.”

The Luke Blackledge-Liam Cameron bout for Commonwealth super-middleweight title, presented by VIP Promotions, goes ahead at the King George’s Hall, Blackburn on April 4th.

Newsletters Signup