The popular tournament, Ultimate Boxxer, is back with the Super Middleweight division taking centre stage at the Planet Ice Arena in Manchester on the 3rd April.
Amongst the line up are some local Lancastrians, with one of the most experienced boxers taking part being Clitheroe based Luke Blackledge. He has been a former Commonwealth champion and fought for a British title in the past. With a record of 26-9-2 with 9 wins by KO, Blackledge is looking forward to competing at Ultimate Boxxer.
“Can’t wait for it.” Blackledge exclusively told World Boxing News. “I’m getting a lot of good feedback off people, about tickets, about being on TV. I’m really looking forward to it, I can’t wait, buzzing for it.”
Ultimate Boxxer has proved a popular format with fans and with live coverage going out on BT Sport, more boxers seem willing to take part in the winner takes all event.
“It’s been a massive success,” agrees Blackledge. “It will be a big success for me when I pull it off. These tournaments are really good, three fights, one night knock out tournaments.
“They are really good to watch for the fans and even people just tuning in on BT Sport.”
The 29-year-old Blackledge has been in with the likes of Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding, both of whom have gone on to world success, will his experience be a help?
“I think it will a little bit,” Blackledge said. “I think it’s who wants it most on the night with this sort of tournament.
“You need a bit of luck as well. You need to get, I wouldn’t say easiest fights, obviously, they all will be hard fights. But you need to get the best run. The best line up.
“Obviously, I’m the most experienced out there so I know who is probably the best one or two guys in the tournament who I could fight. I’m hoping to get them maybe in the final. Obviously I don’t want to fight them in first fight, it be a hard fight, make you tired for the next two fights. If I could get who I think would be the easiest to fight (it would help), it’s all about who can get the easiest run.”
Blackledge feels he has put the hours in and is in good shape for the night. He has some knowledge of some of the other competitors and is in confident mood.
“I’m putting in all the work in.” He said. “I’m going to be ready for whoever I fight. It doesn’t really matter for me but with tournaments, you do need a but if luck.
“I know who is the top couple of fighters in there. I’ve sparred a lot of them, been around a lot of them. To be honest, I couldn’t give a shit which I fight. It’s a tournament, we are all in it to win it. I am in it to win it.
“It doesn’t really matter (who I fight). My preparations go good, no injuries, I’m very confident I can win it.”
Having fought for the British title against Smith in 2016, Blackledge hopes winning Ultimate Boxxer can lead to him competing for the British once more.
“100%, when I win this tournament, if I can go through hell in this tournament and win it, I believe I will get a British title shot,” Blackledge claimed.
“Last time I fought for the British title, I fought the best in the world. Nobody would fight Callum (Smith) at the time.
“I think he was out of the ring for twelve months before I fought him as nobody would go near him. I ended up fighting him for the British title.
“I’d like to get another shot at the British. Hopefully do the business on Ultimate Boxxer first.”
Tickets for Ultimate Boxxer 7 are on sale now via https://www.ticketmaster.co.
Mick Kane is a Staff Writer for World Boxing News. Follow Mick on Twitter @MickKaneMMA