By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
A warning to all boxing purists: There’s going to be a slugfest.
That’s surely the only outcome when you put ‘The Bedford Bear’ Matt Skelton in the ring against ‘Big Bad’ John McDermott.
This Friday at the York Hall in Bethnall Green, the two veterans of the British heavyweight scene will meet for a second time, with each man bidding to get back into the domestic picture after setbacks in 2012.
Both Skelton and McDermott were early knockout victims of David Price in the last calendar year and with their Liverpudlian conqueror looking to vacate his British & Commonwealth titles in the near future – targeting redemption on the world scene in the wake of his own early knockout defeat – the winner of Friday night’s clash will be in the mix once again for national honours, as both men have remained mainstays of the heavyweight division in this country.
|Will it be revenge for McDermott?|
McDermott (27-8, 18 KOs) and Skelton (28-7, 23 KOs) have almost identical records, with Skelton having operated at a higher level in his career. The former world kickboxing champion was a world title challenger losing on points to Ruslan Chagaev in 2008 and lifted the European title in his following fight, before three successive knockout defeats seriously damaged his stock. On his ascent to his world title shot, he had a lengthy reign as the holder of the Lonsdale belt. It was during his time as British champion that he first collided with McDermott.
It’s eight years since their first meeting when a then unbeaten Skelton blew away McDermott to record a first-round stoppage. A well-placed right hand dropped the Essex banger early in the round and with McDermott on unsteady legs, two more knockdowns forced a stoppage.
Despite the nature of that defeat however McDermott insists it will have no bearing on the long separated rematch, citing his age and inexperience at the time – McDermott was a 24-year-old prospect – as the reason for his demise.
“Its one of those things it can happen, I came in and he caught me with a good shot. I was a bit young at the time to take the fight but I took it and took it willingly for a chance. Hopefully on the 15th the tale will be turned.”
McDermott has no doubt improved significantly since the first fight and has some good wins on his resume. A first-round knockout of Larry Olubamiwo was arguably his most impressive result and came seventeen months after a points loss to the rising Tyson Fury, in a fight that many scored in McDermott’s favour. Fury would stop McDermott late on in a rematch that preceded the fight with Olubamiwo, but he was not the only domestic name to get lucky over Big Bad John, who twice lost disputed decisions to Danny Williams.
Now 32, if age is to be a factor in this fight it will likely have bearing on the 46-year-old Skelton. But he’s still been fairing well even in recent times, evidenced by his fifth-round stoppage of Tom Dallas last year.
‘Before I fought Tom Dallas I told him, ‘I’ve got a daughter older than you!’ I’m taking it one step a time. I’m enjoying it.’
There’s no doubt that this Friday night’s encounter will be enjoyable.