SKEETE STUNNED

Ques­tion mark over fu­ture af­ter sec­ond early stop­page de­feat this year

Boxing News - - Action - Si­mon Euan-smith

STOPPED in two rounds in a Euro­pean wel­ter­weight ti­tle bid in April, Bradley

Skeete came back with an im­pres­sive third-round de­mo­li­tion of Fer­nando Va­len­cia in Oc­to­ber (here at the Brent­wood Cen­tre), and was set to get back on the ti­tle trail. The va­cant WBO In­ter­na­tional belt may not be par­tic­u­larly highly prized, but it looked a step along the way – and a strap Skeete seemed ca­pa­ble of win­ning.

Op­po­nent Diego Ramirez had a fair record, but had never boxed out­side his na­tive Ar­gentina, had lost his last out­ing (a de­fence of an­other spu­ri­ous ti­tle) and had scored only four in­side-sched­ule wins. But omi­nously, in each of his last three vic­to­ries (one stop­page) his op­po­nent had been on the floor – and in the sec­ond of this sched­uled 10-rounder a sweep­ing left hook sent Skeete crash­ing down on his back. He took the eight­count, and Ramirez was on him at once. Skeete grabbed for safety but was trapped in his own cor­ner, hang­ing onto the post, when ref­eree Robert Wil­liams waved it off af­ter 2-33.

South­paw Ramirez didn’t get off to the best of starts, los­ing his gumshield in­side the first minute – but he at­tacked pos­i­tively, look­ing to un­load in close. Skeete (now billed from Brom­ley) started work­ing the jab, and landed a de­cent right, but Ramirez took it well and came back with a left.

Skeete was scor­ing with long jabs in the sec­ond, but then Ramirez con­nected with the left and that was that. Skeete’s been a good Bri­tish cham­pion, but two quick stop­page de­feats make one won­der if he’s reached his limit.

In the com­pan­ion 10-rounder on this Queens­berry Pro­mo­tions bill, Croy­don’s Sunny Ed­wards was also down in the sec­ond round, but got up to dom­i­nate Mex­ico’s Ju­nior Grana­dos. Scores were 98-91 (Wil­liams), 97-92 (Va­le­rio Mosca) and 99-91 (Bence Ko­vacs).

Ed­wards’ shots car­ried more pop, and he gen­er­ally landed more of them. But Grana­dos came to try, and scored with light jabs – and in the sec­ond a right counter had Ed­wards over. He was up quickly, and went straight on the at­tack, and from then on was al­ways a step ahead, switch­ing to south­paw for long pe­ri­ods and out­work­ing his will­ing op­po­nent. Terry O’con­nor ref­er­eed.

Southamp­ton’s Ryan Garner claimed a three-round stop­page of Spain-based Nicaraguan Jose Aguilar. It had been sched­uled for six. Garner took charge from the start, putting shots to­gether and caus­ing Aguilar to back off and cover up. Aguilar claimed a low blow in the sec­ond, and ref­eree Wil­liams gave him time to re­cover.

In the third Garner was land­ing at will, and Mr Wil­liams was watch­ing closely. Aguilar backed into the ropes, clearly in dis­tress, and fi­nally sank down. Mr Wil­liams called it off af­ter 1-44.

Caoimhin Ag­yarko (Belfast) won his sec­ond paid out­ing by clearly outscor­ing

Yasin Has­sani, an Afghan based in Bu­dapest, ref­eree Lee Ev­ery scor­ing 60-52. Go­ing in, Has­sani was 3-0, all three wins in­side the dis­tance – but two were against debu­tants, the third against an op­po­nent with an 0-2 record. Ag­yarko eas­ily avoided Has­sani’s right­hand swipes and landed con­sis­tently with both hands, oc­ca­sion­ally switch­ing to south­paw. Has­sani bled from the nose in the last.

For­mer lead­ing am­a­teur Mark Cham­ber­lain (Portsmouth) made a dream de­but, wip­ing out Lat­vian fel­low south­paw Alek­san­drs Birken­bergs in just 35 se­conds of a sched­uled four. A left to the body dropped Birken­bergs down on one knee. He was up at ‘seven’ but turned and lurched un­steadily to­wards a neu­tral cor­ner – and Mr Ev­ery waved it off. An­other debu­tant, Beck­ton’s Mo­hammed Bi­lal Ali, clearly out­pointed Glouces­ter’s Andy Har­ris, ref­eree Ev­ery scor­ing 40-36.

Hamzah Sheeraz (Il­ford) dom­i­nated Is­ling­ton’s Jor­dan Gran­num, Mr Ev­ery scor­ing 60-54. Mean­while, south­paw

James Branch (Hain­ault) de­feated Lithua­nian Remigi­jus Zi­ausys, ref­eree Wil­liams mark­ing 40-35. Zi­ausys was will­ing, but Branch was vir­tu­ally land­ing at will in the last two ses­sions.

THE VER­DICT The ques­tion now is, can Skeete come back?

Photo: AC­TION IM­AGES/ADAM HOLT

STUN­NER: Ramirez sinks to his knees in vic­tory af­ter shock­ing Skeete

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