Bradley Skeete’s career best performance not enough to dethrone Frankie Gavin

Bradley Skeete suffered his first career defeat in a very close decision loss to Frankie Gavin at the ExCel Arena on Saturday night.

The Penge fighter, 27, dropped to 18-1 (seven KOs) and failed to capture Gavin’s British and the vacant Commonwealth welterweight titles in a fight that was much closer than the judges’ scorecards indicated.

Despite Skeete giving the best performance of his career to date, judges Michael Alexander and Marcus McDonnell scored the bout 116-113 to Gavin and Terry O’Connor scored it 116-112 for Gavin.

The fight was extremely close throughout and from the first few rounds onwards, it appeared that the winner would depend on which style the judges preferred – either Gavin continuously forcing the action on the front foot, or Skeete’s better accuracy on the back foot.

The first round started very tentatively with both fighters trying to establish their jab, but Skeete appeared to be having more success by getting though with two good right hands to take the round.

Skeete boxed well in the second and refused to allow Gavin to find his range by again making brilliant use of the jab to open up swelling around the Birmingham man’s right eye.

The third round saw both fighters still reluctant to let their hands go but Gavin started to find success with his left hand.

Alan Smith, Skeete’s trainer, implored his man to go out and take the fourth round but it was Gavin who seemed to take the initiative on the front foot.

In the fifth, it seemed to be a contest between Skeete’s jab and Gavin’s left hand, with Skeete needing to to widen his range of punches if he wanted to catch the eye of the judges.

‘Super’ Skeete started to have a bit more success in the next round by picking Gavin off with the right hand as he came forward but like most of the previous rounds, the scoring depended on whether you prefer Skeete’s accuracy or Gavin’s relentless forward movement.

The seventh was one of Skeete’s best rounds as he deployed the lead right hook to rock Gavin just before the end of the round.

Smith, aware of how close the fight had been so far, again pleaded with his man to take the last five rounds to leave the judges in no doubt about the winner.

It was Gavin, though, who started the eighth round better with Skeete again reduced to jabbing from the back foot.

The ninth and tenth rounds followed a similar pattern to the last two, with Gavin doing more coming forward but not landing with much success other than the occasional body punch.

Gavin started the penultimate round by receiving a second warning from referee Phil Edwards for punching too low, but he still appeared to do enough in the last 30 seconds to steal the round.

Both men picked up the pace in the twelfth, and at one point Gavin wrestled Skeete to the canvas, Edwards correctly ruling no knockdown.

Gavin speared through Skeete’s guard with a couple of lead rights with Skeete landing a number of good uppercuts in reply.

The two then traded flurries towards the end of the round to again leave the judges with an extremely hard decision to make, but one that Skeete lost.

Image courtesy of Box Nation, via YouTube, with thanks

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