Callum Smith, 167 1/2lbs, defended his British super middleweight title by dispatching Clitheroe born Luke Blackledge in ten rounds.
Blackledge (22-2-2, 7KO’s) is a solid operator and deserved this opportunity at the famed Lonsdale belt but was unfortunate to come up against an opponent with genuine world title aspirations.
Smith (21-0, 16 KO’s) is set to challenge the winner of the upcoming James DeGale – Badou Jack unification fight. Fans may criticise his level of opposition but I feel it is good to see a fighter with such an opportunity ahead of him staying busy rather than gathering rust.
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The key for the Liverpudlian was expected to be his left hook to the body but Blackledge, 166 1/2lbs, had prepared like never before for this chance and defended the shot well. Smith continued to up the pressure and dropped Blackledge in a dominant third.
Rather than crumbling, Blackledge gritted his teeth and continued to give Smith something to think about. He never managed to get a true foothold in the fight but gave a decent account of himself. A point deduction for holding in a difficult eight didn’t help his cause. Neither did a second knock down in the ninth.
Eventually, a brutal left hook knocked brave but exhausted Blackledge out cold at of the 2.34 of the tenth.
Smith can now sit back and wait to see if he will face DeGale or Jack in early 2017.