By Richard Hubbard
Bradley Skeete must have thought the boxing game was a bit of a breeze when he launched his professional career after a successful stint in the amateur game.
The Penge stylist kept his chin out of harm’s way and eased himself into an unbeaten start to his pro journey, but with only three of his first 15 victories coming inside the distance.
Then came the bombshell delivered by his promotional backers that winning alone is not enough in the paid ranks. It is a ‘bums on seats’ business and entertainment is also the name of the game.
The home truth was delivered by Frank Warren and, for once, Skeete took it on the chin and set about making himself a more fan-friendly fighter.
“Looking back, I used to get a lot of criticism for not getting them out of there and floating through winning the rounds,” recalled the now British champion. “I was winning every round doing what I was doing.
“Yeah it’s true Frank spoke to me – him and Francis told me,” he added, clearly having taken them at their word with eight stoppages in his next 12 fights.
Skeete is now a seasoned operator and has recently been passing on the words of wisdom to his stablemate Lerrone Richards, who is another who does very much his own thing in the ring.
“It was a case of taking their advice and, looking back, I can see now where they were coming from with Lerrone Richards.
“He has got so much skill and ability, he wins every minute of every round, doesn’t get caught, but I’ve been speaking to him and he is at the stage where he needs to step it up a gear and get them out of there.
“Now, with looking from the outside in, I can see that is how I must have looked in there. It’s all about experience and getting the right fights to show what you can do.”
The sometimes harsh reality is that professional boxing is not just a sport, it is showbiz and fans don’t always want to know the ending before the action even begins.
“Exactly yes and people love to see the knockouts and stoppages, it is what people really want to come and see. There is only a handful of people who really appreciate the skill involved in boxing.
“As a fan you don’t want to sit there and watch 12 rounds of skill, you want knockouts and me as a fan wants to see that too.”
CALLING THE SHOTS
Daniel Dubois may only be 19 years of age, but he is already an astute analyst where boxing is concerned, especially with coming from a family steeped in the sport and taking it up himself at the age of six.
Like many of us, the 3-0 newcomer to the professional heavyweight scene was an interested television observer when Anthony Joshua embarked on his first genuine test against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley at the end of April.
Dubois has been a sparring partner for Joshua at the GB set-up in Sheffield and previously commented that the now IBF and WBA world champion has maximised his ability, despite carrying a number of flaws.
His opinion, not to mention his admiration for the Watford man, hasn’t altered much in the wake of his dramatic dust-up with Dr Steelhammer.
“He showed his character, he showed his flaws – his weaknesses and his strengths – and he came through it,” reasoned the resident of the Peacock Gym. “He dug deep and showed what boxing is all about.
“It is quite obvious he started boxing late – not that late, but not particularly young either at 18. He is not a complete fighter and he may never become one, but he has done well with what he’s got – his strength, stamina, fitness and pure athleticism.”
On the subject of stamina, Joshua gassing himself out after going for the kill in the fifth round is not something that overly concerns Dubois, who is a similarly bulky unit.
“When I go for the finish I will go all out and if you do empty the tank, it is just a fight and whatever happens, happens. There are many different scenarios you can end up going through in a fight and that was one where you need the mental strength and toughness to pull through it.”
Hughie Lewis Fury (@hughiefury)
I’m glad to be fighting again next month & September. You’re all in for a shock. @MTK_Manchester @HennessySports @frankwarren_tv @boxnationtv
Hughie Fury offers a little teaser over what’s to come for him in the near future
@ChrisEubankJr talking shit I put pen to paper twice you pulled out ha both got fights coming up after them we see who has a pen ready
Billy Joe Saunders reminds that it was not him who twice didn’t return the contract for a rematch between the pair
Tom Langford (@Tommy_Langford1)
Literally couldn’t make this up.
Tom Langford (@Tommy_Langford1)
Why could he not have got himself arrested three months ago. Lol
Tommy Langford responds to the news that his last opponent Avtandil Khurtsidze has got into a spot of bother with the law