Undefeated bantamweight prospect Carly Skelly (2-0) will face experienced Slovakian Claudia Ferenczi (20-74-8) in her third professional fight on February 28 at the Grand Central Hall in Liverpool.
The 33-year-old southpaw from Litherland is managed by Paul Stevenson and trains at the North Mersey ABC gym with trainer Sid Sidankey.
Her first two opponents in May and September last year had less than 10 fights each, but now the mother of two faces a foe who has had over a century of bouts and almost 500 professional rounds. She is the No.1 flyweight in Slovakia and has experienced two championship fights during her 13-year career, as well as having 10 KOs from 20 victories on her record.
Employed full-time as a pediatric nurse Skelly, who only started boxing at 29, isn’t fazed by the step up in competition, “I know my opponent has had a lot more fights than me, over 100, but I tend not to look too much, because things can change very quickly, so on my pro debut I had a change of opponent, so I try not to look at them too much and just focus on me and what I’m going to do on the night.”
She admitted to still learning the ropes in her fledgling career, “I’m still learning with every fight, it’s a completely different game to the amateurs, so I’m still working on the pro style and getting used to the next one.
“I spend a lot of time sparring the lads at Everton Red Triangle gym. I spar with Connor Butler quite often, Bradley Strand and Andrew Cain.”
The latter of the three names mentioned, Cain, is currently 4-0 with four knockouts and has just signed contracts with Hall of Fame promoter, Frank Warren.
The fearless female laughed, “I’ve never had a bloody nose before in sparring until I went in against Andrew! I think the lads do hold back against me, until they get caught by me, then they don’t like it!”
An ABA finalist and England amateur representative, Skelly gets the best of both worlds, sparring with unbeaten pros and talented amateurs, she explained, “So I spar a lot of the England and GB girls as well, so I do get a mix and wide range of styles to work with. I’ve only ever sparred one professional female boxer and that was Fatuma Zarika, who was a super-bantamweight world champion.
“It’s a good combination of both. The amateurs are very bouncy, in and out, and sharp; the pro lads are settled and heavier handed. Me and Connor [Butler] have had some very good spars. Each time I get in with the lads, I see improvements in myself, so I learn from them, mimic what they do and then I try to play them at their own game!”
Skelly is clearly enjoying her ongoing education and will get to put it all into practice in just two weeks time in her home city.
“I feel very good, it’s been quite a long time coming, I’ve not boxed since September so I’m eager to get back in the ring again.”
Manager Paul Stevenson, along with Pat Barrett’s Black Flash Promotions, book their shows for the entire year, meaning the boxers can plan their schedules accordingly. The next dates are already set in stone for May 2; July 4; September 5; and November 14.
“Yeah, so hopefully I’ll be 7-0 by the end of the year,” Carly envisioned. “I would go for titles whenever my coach and manager both think I’m ready. I boxed at 53kg and 51kg in the amateurs so I’m open to whatever fights are out there.”
Still looking ahead, Skelly shares the same vision that her stablemates at Everton Red Triangle have, which is for big nights of boxing in Liverpool, “That’s what we all want,” she agreed, “Big nights in Liverpool at the Echo Arena with home grown boxers from this city. It’s what we all want to happen and what we are all working so hard for – the big nights.”
The Black Flash Promotions event is titled ‘Undefeated’, due to the 13 exciting prospects with perfect records filling the bill.
Skelly is joined by a septet of skilled contenders from the Everton Red Triangle gym, who are currently undefeated in 30 pro fights between them. They include Nick Ball (11-0); Bradley Strand (2-0); Andrew Cain (4-0) – a trio that have just signed with Frank Warren – there’s also super-flyweight Connor Butler (3-0-1); super-middleweight Harry Woods (3-0); super-lightweight Jonathan Walsh (3-0); and welterweight Jack ‘The Ripper’ McKinlay (1-0).
There will be a guest appearance from Commonwealth super-welterweight champion James Metcalf (20-0) on the show, as well as being supported by super-middleweight southpaw James Heneghan (3-0); super-lightweight Michael Hedges (2-0); middleweight Junior Thompson (1-0); and hard-hitting heavyweight Karl Tierney (1-0).
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