Liverpool’s Carly Skelly (3-0) challenges for the vacant Commonwealth Female super-bantamweight title against Southam’s Amy Timlin (4-0) in a tantalising collision of two unbeaten fighters, live on Sky Sports Box Office on the undercard of the huge Usyk-Chisora heavyweight showdown on Halloween night.
The undefeated super-bantamweights were originally set to lock horns on Friday, October 2 at Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester on a Kieran Farrell Promotions show, live on FITE.TV, which was unfortunately cancelled last minute, but it’s safe to say everything has worked out for the better.
Trained by Sid Sidankey at North Mersey ABC, 33-year-old Skelly described the events leading up to her maiden title challenge, “Originally it was meant to be in August but it wasn’t ever announced, then it was pushed back to September, then it was officially announced for October 2nd, so I thought that one would go ahead, but then with everything going on and all the restrictions it fell through again!
“But it’s all worked out well now it’s on the big stage, which it deserves to be on.”
Skelly remembers receiving the news when the fight was announced in early October, “I was absolutely made up, I just thought that it’s on a great show and I do believe it should be on a big platform. All the slip ups I’ve had with all the cancelled dates, I now believe it all happened for a reason.”
Ever the optimist, the frustrating delays have actually become a blessing in disguise in the end, the Litherland lady explained, “Training is going really well, because the fight date has been changed a few times, I’ve had a lot of time to work on other stuff in the gym.”
A mother of two boys and a full-time pediatric nurse at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, it’s hard to see how the professional boxer can find the time to fit everything in to prepare fully for a championship contest.
“My OCD helps me!” She laughed. “I quite like a routine, so I just try and stay quite organised with everything, and it just works.
“Training has got a lot more intense for this fight, but luckily my husband Paul has been there to support me and my sponsors have all helped, and I’ve been able to take some time off work for this one. I’m surrounded by a lot good people, so all that support really helps.”
Carly is a natural bantamweight but finds fighting up at 122lbs is not an issue despite being only 5ft 1” in height, “I probably walk around in between bantam and super-bantamweight during fights, but weight is not ever an issue for me. I’m always going to be a smaller opponent anyway, so I’ve learnt to deal with it and accept that everyone is going to be bigger than me. It’s nice to be able to eat food and not worry too much about it.”
13 years Skelly’s junior, Amy Timlin, trained by Kieran Farrell, is just 20-years-old. Despite her young age, the ‘Lion Heart’ has won British, European and World titles in kickboxing when training out of Wayne Elcock’s Boxing Academy. She also went on to achieve many other accolades in the amateur boxing ranks, joining in 2017 under the guidance of Frankie Gavin.
Skelly commented on her fellow unbeaten female foe, “I’ve seen her in the amateurs, I remember watching her fight, other than that I haven’t seen much, I don’t tend to do a lot of research on my opponents as I leave that to my manager and my coach. I just go in on the night and do what I do.
“You can start obsessing over opponents and over-analyse everything, and just waste energy on things, so I trust my coach to deal with that side.”
Of the match-up, their similar styles, and how the fight could go, Skelly gave her first-hand insight, “I do believe I’ve got a lot of power, so I think that’s definitely possibility that I could get that [stoppage] for the first time.
“We’re both come forward fighters, I believe. It’s an opportunity for both of us, so we’re both going to go out there and give it our all, so there’s going to be a lot of toe-to-toe action. Maybe she might not come forward once she’s felt my power.”
On the same Matchroom Boxing card, Savannah Marshall and Hannah Rankin clash for the WBO World Female middleweight title, with the women’s fights making up 33% of the card, and only two weeks later the next Matchroom boxing event has 50% of the show made up of female fights.
“It’s been a really good year for women,” enthused Skelly. “Because of what’s going on, we’ve all got a chance to fight people, so a lot of the girls have stepped up in opponents and there’s been some good matches. At the minute, everyone is getting thrown in the deep end, fighting against the same levels, so there’s some really good fights to watch.”
Carly used to watch her husband, Paul, box as an amateur when they were dating, back when they were aged 16, and enjoyed watching the sport but never thought she would ever step through the ropes herself.
She only began training at the age of 29 to take part in a charity boxing event, which is when she discovered her natural talent. She then went on to become an ABA finalist and England representative in a very short space of time before turning pro in 2019.
Managed by Paul Stevenson, the inspirational female fighter is entering into a major title fight in just her fifth bout, with prospects of the winner moving on to world level afterwards.
“I’d love to be world level, but my aim is to box everybody out there and build up to that opportunity. So, I’d fight the likes of Shannon Courtenay and Rachel Ball, there’s a lot of girls out there and I want them all. I’d love to be an undefeated champion, boxing the best in the world.”
Carly concluded with some encouraging words of advice to other women out there that might be thinking of taking up the sport for themselves, “I’d say never worry about what anyone else thinks. Majority of the time, everybody in the boxing gym is that involved in themselves, they’re never looking or interested in what you’re doing. If someone is in a boxing gym, they’re there because they want to be there, so they’re not even going to notice what you do.
“If you let other people’s opinions affect you, you’ll get nowhere in life and end up with a lot of regret when you get older. I’m just a mum of two boys, a nurse, and when I first walked into a gym at 29, my coach said ‘Are you messing with me? You’re gonna get hit in the face!’ I think I had my hair all down, looking a little bit girlie!
“Anybody is capable of anything, so never let anyone else’s judgement matter, you need to focus on you and only you.”
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