Question mark over future after second early stoppage defeat this year
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?
STUNNER: Ramirez sinks to his knees in victory after shocking Skeete