Kicking off the huge Sky Sports Box Office show between headlining heavyweights Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora on October 31 was little-known Carly Skelly (3-0-1) and Amy Timlin (4-0-1), who clashed over 10 two-minute rounds for the vacant Commonwealth Female super-bantamweight title.
The undefeated prospects were originally due to fight on October 2 at Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester on a Kieran Farrell Promotions show, which was due to be broadcast on FITE.TV. After that fell through, the welcome news was received that the pair would be starting the show on Sky Sports Facebook from 6pm, but it continued to get even better for them when they were eventually called upon to open the PPV event at 7pm, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Having only fought on small shows in her home city of Liverpool, Skelly was handed the opportunity of a lifetime in the away corner against an unbeaten Matchroom Boxing prospect, who had already won British, European and World titles in kickboxing, which preceded her glittering amateur boxing career.
The underdog, who turned 34 four days after the fight, took her chance with both hands and dominated the contest, but the scores were given out as 96-95 to Timlin, 97-96 to Skelly, and 95-95 to determine the split decision draw.
Managed by Paul Stevenson and trained by Sid Saidankey at North Mersey ABC, full-time nurse Skelly spoke exclusively to BBN all about her maiden title tilt:
What was your initial reaction when you heard the result read aloud?
“When they said it was draw, I knew I had won. I was disappointed at first, but my coach was trying to keep me in a good mindset, he was telling me that the fight was meant to be on earlier on Facebook live, but instead we were on later on Sky Sports and seen worldwide so more will be watching and seen in America, and he told me that everyone knows the real result and just to keep positive.
“I don’t let things get me too down anyway, because I don’t waste time feeling sorry for myself, so just got to get on with it.”
It was a very good, close contest, and you clearly surprised your opponent, but did she do anything to surprise you?
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised, as such, but I expected her to come forward more. She said in the buildup that she likes to come forward and loves a good tear up, but being in with someone like me might have changed that for her, which was a shame because I really wanted a good tear up!
“In the first round, I caught with good backhand to the body and she didn’t really want to stand and trade after that, knowing that I possess more power.”
What feedback have you had from the fight?
“Yeah, so I was a little bit disappointed afterwards, but listening to all the feedback and seeing Carl Froch’s reaction after the fight, and when I watched it back and everyone knew who the winner was, it has given me a boost and got lot of good feedback. I managed to watch back it just the once on the Monday after the fight.”
Any news of the rematch yet?
“No, we’ve not heard nothing. Eddie Hearn, after the fight, said that we will get the rematch. I saw that Amy has put something up online saying that hopefully news is coming soon, so whether she’s heard something, I don’t know.”
Are you back in training despite not having a fight date yet?
“For the week afterwards, I tapered it down, because I try to exercise daily no matter what, but then I got a phone call to go to Denmark for some sparring with the IBF Female featherweight world champion Sarah Mahfoud. She was meant to be going to Vegas later in the year but her fight fell through, so I came back from there early.
“I’m still learning, sparring with other girls, still in the gym training; I tend to train Monday to Friday and have the weekends with my family.”
After such a great performance and perfect game plan, what could you do next time to make sure you secure the win?
“I could have done a lot more with getting the better body shots in earlier, because I hadn’t gone the full 10-rounds before, I wanted to pace myself and conserve energy for later, but next time round I’d be more confident for a faster and ferocious pace done earlier.
“It was ok doing those 10-rounds for the first time, getting the longer rounds was quite good for me because my power was getting too much for her in those later rounds, with the body shots breaking her down, so over the longer rounds I enjoyed it more.”
What will that performance and the opportunity to showcase your skills on such a huge platform have done for your professional boxing career?
“When we actually found it was going to be on the card it was on, and having the opportunity on Sky Sports; just being there, I thought ‘this is what I want to keep doing’, and the performance I gave… I definitely think they underestimated me. After that fight, I want people to start to see more of what I’m about.”
Rachel Ball was given a similar opportunity, to fill the away corner against an unbeaten Matchroom prospect, and now she is an interim WBC World Female super-bantamweight champion – does that give you a glimpse into what can be achieved?
“She was somebody that was not as known and not expected to win against Shannon Courtenay, and she’d gone out there and proved herself and took her chance.
“I just thought that on the night it’s such a big opportunity, I’ve got to take it and enjoy it, and hopefully more will come from there.”
Thanks Carly, anything you’d like to add to conclude with?
“I just like to thank my sponsors for their support – Parnell’s Sports Bar; SLJ Civils Ltd; Williamson’s Family Butchers; My Body Therapy; Liverpool K9 Fertility; Autocare Repair Centre; Cryo Clinic; Sports Involved; Universal Staffing Solutions.”
Carly Skelly is a full-time pediatric nurse at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and mother of two boys. She only begun boxing aged 29 after agreeing to take part in a charity boxing match and went on to win 15 from 20 amateur bouts, represented England in the GB Championships and won silver medal in an international tournament. She is now four fights unbeaten as a pro and awaiting the chance to fight live on Sky Sports for a second time.
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