It was announced recently that Billy Joe Saunders (22-0) was forced to withdraw from his WBO World middleweight title challenge against current holder Andy Lee (34-2-1) after the British, Commonwealth and European supremo from Hatfield sustained an injury in training.
It’s the second time that the highly-anticipated, history-making contest has been scratched with the show initially scheduled for September 19th at the Thomond Stadium in Limerick, Ireland.
The fight was then moved to promoter Frank Warren’s show, held in association with Adam Booth and Top Rank, where it would be supported by a stellar undercard.
Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Luke Blackledge (19-2-2) performs on the same show and gets the toughest of tests against the durable, aggressive Lee Markham (14-2-1) in Manchester Arena on October 10th, live on BoxNation.
The 168-pounder from Clitheroe is adamant that the loss of the main event will not detract from the entertainment provided on the night. He said, “There’s still world title fights on the card and it’s still going to be a sellout show at the Manchester Arena.
“It would’ve been great to have that contest as the main event because they’re both world class but there’s nothing you can do about an injury.”
The card will be topped by ‘Turbo’ Terry Flanagan’s maiden title defence of his WBO World lightweight strap against American Diego Magdaleno as well as Liam Smith’s intriguing scrap with John Thompson for the vacant WBO World light-middleweight belt.
“It’s still going to be a great card without that fight,” said Blackledge. “There’s Terry Flanagan, Liam Smith, Derry Matthews. I’ve got a tough fight on that card too. There’s some top fighters appearing and some very good prospects too."
Top talents Liam Walsh, Jack Catterall and debutant Jack Flattley also feature.
“Jack Flattley is one to watch out for. He’s been around the country sparring all the top pros in preparation for his debut.”
The 168-pounder from Lancashire, ranked at number six in the British rankings, attained his Commonwealth title with a career-best performance against the highly-rated Liam Cameron on April 4th in Blackburn King George’s Hall.
“It’s great to be involved in something like this,” said Blackledge.
“I’m confident - otherwise I wouldn’t put my title on the line.
“He’s not taking my title off me. I’ll be at 110% for this one. I’m the champion and we’ll fight my fight, not his.”
The Essex challenger, branded ‘Banjo’, lost out to Jahmaine Smyle (11-4-2) in March this year with the vacant English super-middleweight championship on the line, followed by his stalemate with bitter rival Frank Buglioni (17-1-1) two months later for the WBO European super-middleweight strap.
The match-up will likely be a tasty affair between two aggressive and game, top 10 ranked contenders and the victor will possibly get a shot at the hard-hitting Londoner ‘The Wiseguy’ following his WBA World super-middleweight challenge against champion Fedor Chudinov (13-0) on September 26th in Wembley Arena.
Topping the bill on Saturday 10th October is Manchester's very own Terry 'Turbo' Flanagan (28-0) as he makes the first defence of the WBO lightweight championship in front of his home crowd against the dangerous American southpaw Diego Magdaleno (28-1).
The hugely talented Liam Smith (20-0-1) will take on a strong challenger in New Jersey’s John Thompson (17-1) for the vacant WBO World light-middleweight belt.
Liam Walsh (19-0) takes on worthy contender Troy James (17-1) in a defence of his British and Commonwealth super-featherweight straps.
MGM protégé Thomas Stalker (10-1-1) gets Welshman Craig Evans (14-1) in what should be a very evenly-matched light-welterweight contest.
Mancunian Adrian Gonzales (11-1), who once made his debut at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas in 2008, and former English champion Jon Kays (21-4-1) both contest for the vacant WBO European super-featherweight title over 10 rounds.
Highly-ranked southpaw Jack Catterall (12-0) from Chorley defends his WBO Inter-Continental light-welterweight honours over 10 rounds against unbeaten Jarrko Putkonen from Finland.
Unbeaten Local lad ‘Jimmy’ Kilrain Kelly (15-0) looks to continue his and meteoric rise through the light-middleweight ranks having recently broken into the top ten at just 22-years-old.
Sheffield heavyweight ‘The Inferno’ Richard Towers (15-1) makes an appearance against an opponent yet to be announced. Bolton’s middleweight debutant Jack Flattley gets a dream start on one of the biggest boxing shows of 2015.
Tickets are priced at £30, £40, £80, £135, £210 and £500 available to buy from https://www.frankwarren.com/buy-boxing-tickets/ and will be shown live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 525).
Luke would like to thank his sponsors AJ Wood Ltd and SAGraphics Ltd and Natural Sports Food and New Age Hydrophonics and Home Run Chicken & Pizza and Stratton Advisory Ltd. and N&R Demolitions Ltd. and PR Manager Tim Rickson
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