Talking Boxing

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November 25, 2016

Bradley Skeete's to victory over Thain

Enzo Maccarinelli

by Shaun Brown

Despite revealing that he had damaged his right thumb in his last few sparring sessions for his first British title defence, Bradley Skeete (25-1, 11 KOs) had little trouble retaining his belt against John Thain (16-3-1, 1 KO) on a wintry night at the Brentwood Leisure Centre in Essex,
Thain, who took the fight at four weeks notice after Shayne Singleton pulled out due to injury, gave it his best effort but could do little about Skeete’s jab, in particular, which became a dominating factor throughout the fight.

Scores of 116-112 (generous from Ian John Lewis) and a fairer assessment of 118-111 (twice) from judges John Latham and Jeff Hinds gave Skeete a deserved victory.

Skeete did an excellent job of controlling the distance throughtout and had Thain, at times, throwing two or three air shots after the champion’s jab continued to bang away at the challenger’s face.

After getting lost in a battle of the jabs in the first two rounds, Thain gave Skeete something more to think about in the third round. A three minutes that was arguably the Scot’s best session of the night with his right hand landing more often than not.

If that opened the door back on Thain’s chances, Skeete closed it soon after and got back down to his gameplan from the fourth onwards making Thain miss from distance and picking him off with jabs, hooks and shots to the body. And although Thain never looked in any real trouble of being stopped or knocked out, he was always chasing the fight and trying to force Skeete into mistakes which were kept to a minimum.

Marked up and bloodied to the face, Thain continued in what was something of a chess match but Skeete had all the moves against a man who moved down from 154lbs to 147lbs earlier this year after a conversation with trainer Terry McCormack.

Despite a rally in the eighth round from Thain, which included a camera friendly three punch combination, it was too little too late. Skeete would simply take control again taking the final four rounds on our 118-110 scorecard in favour of the champion.

Skeete admitted afterwards that he is British level at the moment, despite his lofty four and five ranking with the IBF and WBO. The champion wants to win the Lonsdale belt outright, and the second part of that three-part task will likely come against Shayne Singleton in the first quarter of next year.

For Thain, his third career loss by no mean signals the end of any British title ambitions. He looks to have found a weight where he looks comfortable and happy. The key now is to make sure he is matched with those around him in the British welterweight rankings in 2017, rather than falling back to six rounders’ where little is learned.

Lee Markham (17-3-1, 7 KOs) retained his English middleweight title after an entertaining 10 round fight with Andrew Robinson (18-3, 6 KOs) earlier tonight on the same bill.

Markham, making the first defence of his title after beating Joe Mullender in May seemed to be the heavier handed of the two fighters, but couldn’t put Robinson away, despite an eighth round that the challenger did superbly to see the end of.

Some of the rounds had a familiar pattern with Robinson starting impressively, and Markham finishing the stronger of the two on occasion.

Robinson, whose own jab early on seemed lethargic, looked in control of the fight at times particularly when creating some space between himself and Markham. In turn, the champion looked to take control when crouched down and looking to take the fight to Robinson, and trying to punch his way through the Robinson defence.

Robinson coped admirably well on the back foot despite being continually walked down by Markham, who ate his fair amount of leather while moving forward. A scenario that was particularly evident in the final two rounds.

One round earlier and a heavy right hand caught Robinson, who walked on to many similar shots during the fight, had the challenger on unsteady legs and a stoppage looked inevitable. Punches rained down from Markham, but Robinson proved he had the recovery powers of a video game character. But this wasn’t Call of Duty where you can hide and watch the energy bar go back to full health, Robinson stood there until the bell sounded for the end of the round.

With the fight going to the scorecards, it looked like that the fight could have went either way. Talking Boxing scored the fight a draw (95-95), but as is the norm these days in boxing there was one daft scorecard. 98-93 from judge Williams, with 96-95 (twice) from judges Lewis and McCann.

Afterwards, Markham commented on how tough the fight was. “Hardest fight I’ve been in,” he said. “Didn’t know which way it was going to go.”

A dejected Robinson clearly thought he won. “I’m lost for words. I gave it everything I’ve got. I knew I won the fight.”

The rest of the card saw the first blip on super lightweight Nathaniel Wilson's four-fight professional record after drawing against Josh Thorn. Super middleweight Billy Long (5-0, 2 KOs) picked up the second stoppage of his career after fighting Fireman Dean Gillen was halted in the first. Johnny Coyle notched up win number five in 2016 after an excellent display of boxing to out point Nelson Altamirano over six rounds. Welterweight Coyle now moves to (16-0-1, 2 KOs). Nineteen-year-old Boy Jones Jr. (11-0-1, 7 KOs) picked up his first domestic title by winning the vacant Southern Area super featherweight title against a defiant Martin Hillman who gave his all to see the final bell but ultimately lose 99-92 on points. Light heavyweight prospect Anthony Yarde learned little against Ference Albert to move to (9-0, 7 KOs) after ending the fight in the first round, and super lightweight Sanjeev Sahota got a decent workout against Gyula Tallosi to take his unbeaten pro start to (5-0, 1 KO).