Bradley Skeete (27-2, 12KOs) was stopped in two rounds by the hard hitting Spaniard Kerman Lejarraga (25-0, 20KOs) in the Bilbao Arena on Saturday night.
The Londoner made the brave decision to take on undefeated Lejarraga in his hometown for the vacant European welterweight title.
The opening exchanges were pretty even with both fighters managing to connect with jabs but disaster struck in the second round when Skeete was caught with a right that sent him to the canvas.
It looked nothing more than a flash knockdown which the penge-fighter managed to recover from rather quickly. The Spaniard smelt blood and was back on the attack, this time it was a crunching shot to the ribs that took the wind out of Skeete.
Skeete showed a lot of guts to get back to his feet as you could clearly see the anguish written all over his face. Once again ‘Revolver’ was back on the inside throwing bombs. Although the last shot that landed was a right to the head it was actually another body shot that sent Skeete back onto his knees.
The white towel came in and the referee stopped the fight to send the Spanish crowd into bedlam.
A disappointed Bradley Skeete was gracious in defeat when he said:
“I’m absolutely gutted. Saturday night wasn’t my night. I got caught and just didn’t get going. I’ll bounce back and go again. Congratulations and well done to Kerman Lejarraga all his team MGZ Promotions.”
The 30-year-old will need to lick his wounds and re-group. This is only the second defeat of his career and a couple of victories can turn his fortunes around.
I cannot see too many welterweights in the world wanting to travel to Bilbao to take on the hard hitting Lejarraga. Skeete is no mug that has fought and beat some decent punchers before. Expect the 26-year-old to continue his rise into a world championship contender. The 147lb division has been put on high alert as not many would be able to finish off Skeete in this manner.
‘Super’ Skeete is still ranked high enough in Britain to comeback with a tasty domestic dust-up to get himself back into world contention. Fellow Londoner Gary Corcoran would be the perfect fight back in my opinion. The Wembley-based fighter lost out to Jeff Horn last year in a world title shot which in all honesty should have been against Skeete and not Corcoran.
Another possibility is Frankie Gavin who is the only other fighter to defeat Skeete and it would generate a lot of interest domestically.
One big name that jumps out at me when looking at the international stage is Devon Alexander. Ok so it might be a long shot but the former two-weight world champion has only just returned to the ring after a two-year absence. Plus he is only a few places above Skeete in the world rankings.
Maybe more realistic choices would be Miguel Vazquez who recently got stopped by Josh Kelly, Brandon Rios who has come up short against the very best or Felix Diaz from the Dominican Republic.
Bradley Skeete is still young enough to come again and he does have the pedigree to trouble some of the best welterweights in the world. The young man from Spain may well prove to be the real deal as there are not many that can boast 20 knockouts on their CV.
The best thing the Londoner can do now is get back in the ring as soon as possible and get another win under his belt. Skeete will have learned a lot about himself on Saturday night and this loss should only increase his hunger to prove the doubters wrong.