LUKE Blackledge hopes he can one day earn a fight with Mikkel Kessler as he begins to gain international recognition foll-owing an unbeaten start to his professional boxing career.
Blackledge, who is based in Accrington and hails from Clith-eroe, is starting to feature in the top 10 of Britain’s rankings for the super middleweight division after a shock win over Mads Larsen in Denmark and then a points victory against Carl Wild at the Reebok Stadium earlier this month.
The 23-year-old is now keen to challenge Rocky Fielding for the English title, or even fight for the Irish title courtesy of his family links to the Emerald Isle.
But Blackledge has also recently received enquiries about fighting again overseas, after his knockout triumph over the experienced Larsen in June grabbed the attention of promoters in both Denmark and Russia.
Larsen, who had won 51 and lost three of his previous bouts, was ranked as the Danish number two and there is now a possibility that Blackledge could fight the number one on the domestic scene in Denmark, Rudy Markussen, in the near future.
But the Danish super middle-weight division has long been dominated by two-time world champion Mikkel Kessler, who famously fought both Joe Calzaghe and Carl Froch.
So Blackledge is not ruling out the possibility of following the path of Irish boxer Brian Magee, who made his name in Denmark by beating Larsen and Markussen and is now preparing to take on Kessler in December.
“Kessler is in that weight division so you never know,” said Blackledge, who trains with Kevin Maree at Stirk House in Gisburn.
“Maybe at some point I could get a fight with him, you just never know.
“They want me to fight the number one in Denmark (Markussen) so maybe that could happen before the end of the year. Brian Magee has just fought him.
“I’ve beaten the number two. They thought I was just going over there to get beat but I watched Mads Larsen and thought I could beat him. I think a lot of people in Denmark were shocked when I won. After that I was asked to go and have a title fight in Russia, too.
“I think that would have been for the WBO international title or something like that, against a Russian.
“But then they knocked me back in the end because I hadn’t done a 10-rounder, even though I’d just beaten Mads Larsen.
“I’ve done a 10-rounder now though against Carl Wild.
“But ideally I want to be fighting over here.
“I want to fight for English title in the next two or three fights against Rocky Fielding. It’s just down to the people at his end. I would take that fight next month.”
And just days after his fight against Wild, Blackledge was due to return to the gym to aid the preparations of fellow Stirk House fighter Kenny Anderson, who takes on Robin Reid for the vacant British super middleweight title on Saturday.
Blackledge has been Anderson’s main sparring partner ahead of the bout, and has also sparred with former world title challenger Tony Bellew in recent times.
“Tony Bellew is world class and Kenny isn’t far behind so I have learned a lot,” said Blackledge, who has won all 11 of his fights so far.
“Hopefully Kenny will win the British title and when he moves on again in a couple of years, maybe I could go for that title.
“I’m in the top 10 of the British rankings now and in the top 70 of the world. I’m the youngest in the top 100. “But I’m only 22 so I don’t want to be saying I’ll win the world title or anything yet. I’ve got time.
“I just want to keep winning.”