Four of the capital’s brightest prospects get a chance to showcase their wares on the huge ‘Power of London’ promotion at the Copper Box Arena in the East End this Saturday but stringbean welterweight Bradley Skeete hopes that it’s his name that’s on everybody’s lips once the dust has settled.
The unbeaten 26 year old from Penge in south London makes a maiden defence of his WBA InterContinental strap against quality Italian Tobia Giuseppe Loriga. And he knows that a sizzling display will elevate him to the front of the queue for when stablemate Frankie Gavin inevitably abdicates his British and Commonwealth belts.
Catch the whole ‘Power of London’ promotion which showcases capital talents Frank Buglioni, Tony Conquest and Bradley Lewis Pettit in championship action, live and exclusive in the UK by tuning into BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, on Sky Ch.437 (HD490)/Virgin Ch.546 from 7pm Saturday evening.
Glynn Evans caught up with the Alan Smith trained starlet to discuss recent developments.
You’ve taken a big step up in class in your last two fights, edging past ex European champion Colin Lynes over ten to win the English title in late November, then schooling Frenchman Chris Sebire in your first 12 rounder to bag the WBA InterContiniental belt in February. What did you learn from those two fights? In what ways have they developed you as a fighter?
I’d sparred Colin before so knew he was tough. The fight was more mentally draining than physically. After he caught me and dropped me in the second round, it was about me being mature and taking my time.
As a former British and European champion he’d boxed at a high level so I had to stay switched on the whole time. But I think that shows how I’m developing.
Being truthful, I could only give Colin two rounds –the second and round nine – so I was a bit disappointed with his reaction at the end. It was a tough, competitive fight, sure, but he just didn’t do enough.
After the fight, I went into his changing room to thank him for the fight but he was still carrying on like it was me who did him the disservice! I don’t judge the fights. No one thought he won. I’m sure when he watches it back, he’ll have changed his opinion. Shame. I always had a lot of respect for him.
In the Sebire fight I received a bit of criticism for failing to put him away. They said he was a light-welter stepping in at short notice.
But people need to understand that I trained solid for 12 weeks to face Vivian Harris a former world champion who was on a good role, but he was blocked by the Board of Control.
What have you been focussing on with Alan in the gym since?
It’s my style to have low hands and I won’t change it but a few things need tweaking.
At times against Lynes, I got caught pulling out of exchanges with my hands low and my chin up in the air and you can’t risk that at the level I now operate in.
From the Sebire fight, I learned the need to try to punch through the guard to make things happen; touch the body then whip upstairs. If I fought someone as defensive as him again, I’d now have a far better idea of how to break them down.
Reigning British and Commonwealth champion Frankie Gavin is clearly on the cusp of the major international belts, would you fight him if you had to.
I’ve huge respect for Frankie. He’s cleaned up domestically and he’s definitely European, world level. But if he still has the belts by the end of the year then I’ll have to fight him. I’m only going to get better and I can’t allow him to hold my career up.
I only like to focus on what I’m doing, my career. I’m certainly not calling Frankie out but, ultimately, to be the best, you have to beat the best.
Gavin, alongside Amir Khan and Kell Brook, is one of three world class British welters. How do you rate them?
Personally, I’d go with Khan as king cos he’s fought and won several world title fights. He’s got most experience. It’s a toss-up between Frankie and Kell. Again, Kell’s probably fought at a higher level as a pro.
A fight between any two of the three would be excellent. Brook brings the punch power, Gavin’s technique and footwork are wicked and Khan is rapid! They’ve all got something that could win them a fight on any given night.
Brook will win a world title. Hopefully, by the time I get to British, European title level, they’ll all be world champions and I can be involved in some great domestic fights.
If you exclude that Holy Trinity, do you believe you’re ready for any other British welterweight?
Yeh, Witter, Theophane, Vassell….bring ’em! We’re all same level. Since winning the English, I’ve had your Chad Gaynors and Sam Eggingtons calling for me?! I was lined up to fight Vivian Harris for the InterContinental title. What am I going to drop back to fight them for?! I’m sick of being a nice guy.
Is it difficult to sustain focus as you tread water waiting for Frankie to move on?
Not at all. It’s a positive. I’m getting quality 12 round experience and a high ranking with the WBA. I might get the chance to fight Latin and African fighters. No doubt, I’ll eventually fight all these pretenders calling me out in British title defences.
How has your prep gone for Saturday?
Really well. My sponsors, The Keen Group, have given me a great opportunity to give up work and become a full time pro which is a huge, huge help.
I only had a week off from the gym after Sebire and I’m feeling, good, fit, ready. I’ve had good sparring with Tyler Goodjohn, Georgie Kean, Larry Ekundayo plus all the boys at our gym.
I’m really excited about boxing at the Copper Box again and I’ve sold a couple of hundred tickets.
What do you know about your 37 year old Italian opponent Tobia Giuseppe Loriga?
I’ve seen little bits on You Tube. He comes to fight and has a good work rate. He’s only lost three of 32
It seems most of his fights have been up at light-middle (where he was Italian and IBF International champion) so we expect him to be big. He certainly looks tall and gangly on tape. He took Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr into round nine so clearly he’s very tough.
What would constitute a good night for Bradley Skeete on Saturday?
Getting the win and making a statement. There’s a lot of prospects on the bill and I’d like to be the one they’re talking about. My last few fights have all gone to points so it’d be nice to get a stoppage – particularly if it was quicker than Chavez – and shut a few people up. Hopefully, the Italian comes to fight so I can really show fans what I’m capable of.
Finally, where do you hope to be by the close of 2014, and how do you intend getting there?
I definitely intend having that Lonsdale Belt clasped around my waist before the new year. As the reigning English champion, it’s only right that I get first shot if the belt becomes vacant.
In the meantime I just want to keep looking good, gaining confidence and beating those in front of me whilst I acquire plenty of 12 round experience.