LUKE Blackledge is determined to make 2017 his year after losing against fellow countrymen Callum Smith in December 2016.
The Lancashire based fighter, who came into the bout on a seven-match win streak was given his first chance to fight for a British Boxing Board of Control title and unfortunately unsuccessful in his bid.
His rival, Smith, was an undefeated fighter with 21 victories making him odds on favourite in advance of the match-up.
Blackledge’s previous fights were in the super-middleweight division and he packed on the pounds to make the step up to light-heavyweight.
In the early rounds, the Blackledge was unable to get into his rhythm and offered very little in terms of aggression and pace. He suffered an early knockdown in the third round.
“His power had surprised me because I’ve never been hit like that before,” said Blackledge (23-2-2).
Though the 26-year-old got back up, he faced continuous shots to the head and body until again he was knocked down in the eighth by a right uppercut to the head.
“I was landing quite good shots on him throughout the fight and bringing the fight to him but he just never seemed to give up.”
In the tenth round, Blackledge suffered a devastating left hook and was instantly sent to the canvas – forcing referee Howard Foster to call a halt to the bout.
Many spectators at ringside credited Blackledges’ tremendous heart and effort in the ring.
But if the punches are hit, you will forfeit.
Blackledge, who also goes by the name of ‘Robbo’, stated after his humbling, that he believes that he belongs in the ring and is capable of overcoming this defeat.
“Taking three losses now in my career, it is not a bad thing because many greats in history have had bigger let downs and losses but they came back with great courage,” he said.
“We just have to get back in training camp and do a little bit more work. I’m still hungrier than ever.
“I’m looking to come back around late February or early March and start afresh. By the end of 2017 I wanna at least achieve being the British champion.”