Bradley Skeete (26-1, 12 KOs) does his best work moving backwards.
The English champion is a pristine counterpuncher and as talented as any fighter on Frank Warren’s roster. But Skeete is testing the patience of fight fans frittering away with another British title defense against blood rival Sam Eggington’s scraps in the form of Dale Evans (13-3-2, 4 KOs) on July 8 at the Copper Box Arena.
“I want to move up in levels,” said Skeete after his previous bout in June, via BoxingScene.com. “But I’ve got one more defense of the belt—I’m stubborn.”
Skeete looked prime for world level after rolling into Birmingham last year to dispatch the local boy Eggington for the Commonwealth and British Welterweight titles. Beating Evans gives Skeete three title defenses and possession of the Lonsdale Belt outright.
Domestic straps mean a lot to English fighters, more than Americans might be able to understand as there are no respectable regional titles stateside.
Skeete will be 30 soon and does not belong in the same ring as his upcoming challenger. Evans, of Wales, is a professional of fewer than 20 bouts and failed at winning the British title two years ago, losing to the aforementioned Eggington.
A rangy welter, Skeete is a cerebral stylist. He works behind a fantastic jab, never loses composure and never had a problem fighting the distance.
While Skeete’s most notable win may be over Eggington the fight that really made him a player in the British fight scene was his points loss to Frankie Gavin. The Penge boxer dropped a controversial decision to Gavin in 2014. It remains the only blemish on Skeete’s ledger.
Skeete, unperturbed, earned the WBO European title in his very next fight—crushing Anzor Gamgebeli in under two minutes.
Three victories followed before finally lifting the Lonsdale Belt.
Skeete’s first defense was a decision over John Thain, a thorough and convincing victory, but not a performance that earned him many new fans.
This year, however, Skeete has demonstrated more venom in his mitts.
In June, he wiped away Lancashire’s Shayne Singleton in five rounds—the same time it took Eggington to stop Singleton.
Now he has Evans to deal with, another Eggington victim. In victory, Skeete will have his belt and no more excuses.
Jeff Horn recently ripped the WBO share of the 147-pound championship from Pacquiao down under. The sanctioning body currently rates Skeete the No. 3 fighter in the division.
Prior to this year, Skeete’s calculated style has not been without criticism. He is now taking a backseat this weekend to the thunderous-punching Light Heavyweight Anthony Yarde after headlining most shows he has competed on. But the man who smashed Singleton to bits last month is can’t-miss stuff.
If Skeete shows up opposite Evans with the same mentality, he can secure a title fight sooner rather than later and maybe a return to the top of the bill.
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