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Luke Blackledge back in action at Guild Hall Preston on February 28

WBC International Silver super-middleweight champion Luke Blackledge 18-2-2 kicks off his 2015 campaign with a six round contest at Guild Hall Preston on February 28th.

Opponent is yet to be confirmed but after a previous walkover victory over Bulgarian, Konstantin Alexandrov 3-4-0 in Blackburn on November 22nd, Blackledge is hoping for a better test for him on the night.

The fight is part of a VIP Promotions show with headlining fight featuring unbeaten middleweight prospect Ricky Skelton 12-0-0.

Blackledge commented on what will be his 23rd professional contest since joining the paid ranks in 2010, “I think it’s six or an eight rounder on the 28th, still not got an opponent yet. My last fight was basically a last minute step in and ended up being an easy night’s work although they can still be risky those foreign journeymen. I want a harder fight for February.”

Blackledge continued, “Training has been going well, I’ve had some good sparring with Tom Doran from Prizefighter, he’s coming again tomorrow so must have been happy with the spar. There’s some cracking fighters in that show.”

The Prizefighter Middleweights feature an unbeaten quintet of boxers – Tom Doran, Mick Hall, Craig Cunningham (all 11-0), Luke Keeler (7-0) and Blackpool’s own Jack Arnfield (17-0). They are joined by Cumbria’s Liam Conroy (7-2), Peterborough’s ‘Dangerous’ Cello Renda (25-10-2) and Warren Tansey (10-1) at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Valentine’s Night.

Blackledge went on to mention the opportunities that have presented him in recent weeks, “It’s my manager’s job really, at the end of the day it’s down to him and I’ll just box whoever I’m told. I’m getting offered fights abroad from Direll in America but that was just too far a step up for me right at this minute and I got offered one last week in Africa for a ten rounder.

“Then, this week I got offered the Commonwealth title shot over in Africa as well so it’s a bit different when there’s a title on the line. I don’t really want to go over to Africa, I’m 50/50 on it and we’re negotiating at the moment to try and get him over here in Blackburn instead.”

The boxer in question is Nigerian Isaac Ekpo 25-2-0 who recently took two-time WBO super-middleweight world champion Robert Steiglitz the distance in a world title fight losing by unanimous decision in the champion’s hometown in Germany in October 2013.

“Yeah I’d ideally like to fight for that belt over here so hopefully we can make it work. It’s the fight that I’ve been waiting for.”

The Clitheroe super-middleweight has been involved in seven title fights in under two years collecting the WBC International Silver super-middleweight title from Philip Kotey in Blackburn in September last year, and two Masters titles in 2012.

The 24-year-old Lanky has challenged for the Commonwealth title once before in unfavourable circumstances when given just three days notice to fight unbeaten Liverpool favourite Rocky Fielding back in November 2013. The challenger was counted out by referee Victor Loughlin after just two minutes and 32 seconds of the opening round.

Blackledge explained the conditions at the time, “I took that fight on a Thursday and fought Rocky on the Saturday. I got the phone call after a hard spar with Ronnie Heffron – no one should be sparring in the week before they’re due to fight so that was the first mistake!

“If the opportunity come up then yeah, I’d like a rematch and obviously I think I’ve earned my shot at Rocky again.”

Headlining the show is unbeaten middleweight prospect Ricky Skelton 12-0-0 looking to extend his record to 13 wins in 13 fights. The 21-year-old southpaw from Penrith, Cumbria looks a dead cert to challenge for titles in 2015 and is on the verge of breaking into the top ten in the middleweight division.

Bolton boxer Rick Godding 19-0-1 comes into this next fight off the back of a two-year absence due to a long-standing shoulder injury that required surgery and a sequential recovery period.

His last two fights were of very high quality, experienced opponents resulting in a points win over former Commonwealth champion Bradley Pryce 33-10-0 in April last year on his 20th contest and settling for a draw against former EBU European champion Rafael Jackiewicz 46-12-2 on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko’s victory over Mariusz Wach in Hamburg in November 2012.

Godding celebrates his 30th birthday ten days before his ring return on February 28th and will be hoping for a win to begin climbing his way back up the rankings where he once sat at fifth place before his injury woes.

Super-featherweight Isaac Lowe 9-0-0 will be looking to reach double figures on his win tally on the night. The Westgate Warrior has only ever conceded one round in his fledgling career so far to 25-year-old Latvian Pavels Senkov. The 21-year-old from Morecombe looks like a promising young star in the super-featherweight division currently ranked in the top 20.

Light-heavyweight Tomi Tatham 6-1-0 looks to improve his record following a disappointing loss to Lee Duncan 4-7-2 in 2013 and a subsequent year’s absence from the ring. The Yorkshireman got back to winning ways with a win last December over Mitch Mitchell 5-29-1 at the Olympia in Liverpool.

Blackburn welterweight Kurt Grieve 5-0-1 will be looking to bounce back from his disappointing draw to William Warburton 13-64-4 last September.

Afghan light-welterweight AJ Faizy 4-0-1 looks to continue his unbeaten streak. Despite the draw, his record is looking very promising for a 21-year-old with all four wins coming by way of KO.

Welterweight Scott Moonan 4-2-1 will be keen to do better than in his last outing losing on points to Viktors Drizlionoks 0-1-0 on points at the Liverpool Olympia in December last year.

Another unbeaten middleweight prospect is Morgan Jackson 1-0-0 from Blackburn. The 18-year-old youngster will be looking to learn from his pro debut which found him on the canvas in the fourth and final round following a big shot from Robert Studzinski 3-18-0. The fledgling pro just about managed to get to the final bell without the referee jumping in to save him.

Debutant Shakeeb Ali known in his hometown of Blackburn as ‘The Storm’ takes his pro bow on the night.

To follow Luke Blackledge on Twitter click here @LukeBlackledge

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