Luke Blackledge, the only man to face both Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) and Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) in a professional boxing ring, has labeled their super middleweight clash a 50-50 fight and believes the Swedish star could be the dark horse in the tournament.
Smith and Skoglund will go head-to-head in the World Boxing Super Series quarter final on September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Blackledge faced Smtih in Manchester in December 2016 for the British Super Middleweight title, and he boxed Skoglund in Frederikshavn, Denmark back in April 2013 for the WBC Youth Light Heavyweight World title. The 26-year old from Lancashire believes Skoglund is being seriously underestimated and suggests that the winner of this fight can go on to win the whole tournament.
"I went 10 rounds with both Smith and Skoglund. And those were two of the toughest fights of my career,’’ said Blackledge.
"Most British boxing fans won't be aware of how good Skoglund is, but they definitely will be after this fight. This fight is a genuine 50-50. Everyone is underestimating Skoglund, but let me tell you now... he is one hell of a fighter!
"If Smith doesn't come with the right game plan, Skoglund will beat him. Whoever has the best game plan on the night will win.
"I really believe the winner of this fight has a good chance to go on and win the whole tournament. My prediction is that the winner of Smith-Skoglund will go on to face George Groves in the final. And what another great fight that would be!’’
On the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series quarter final clash between Smith and Skoglund, Blackledge takes on Derbyshire's Zach Parker in an official eliminator for the British Super Middleweight Championship, in what promises to be another action-packed contest.
"Preparations have been going absolutely perfectly so far for my fight,’’ says Blackledge. ‘’I've been putting my body through hell during training and I'm ready to do the business in Liverpool.
"Parker is a talented young boxer but he really hasn't fought anyone yet. We'll find out how good he is on September 16th!’’
Tickets are on sale now priced £35, £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200 and £350 (VIP) via Liverpool Echo Arena.
Face value tickets are also available from stubhub.co.uk. StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of the World Boxing Super Series.