Star successfully defends his belt for the third time with points victory at the Copper Box Arena
BRADLEY SKEETE defended his British welterweight title for the third time – to keep the Lonsdale belt for good – but crushed Dale Evans’ dreams of honouring tragic Mike Towell.
In September 2016 Evans and Towell battled for the right to challenge Skeete for his crown and Towel sadly lost his life in the aftermath.
The challenger revealed before the fight that he dreamed of taking the Lonsdale belt to Towell’s family to show them he had won it in his memory.
Evans entered the ring to Flower of Scotland in tribute to the proud Scotsman and on the front of his shorts – in the colours of the Scottish flag – he had ‘Iron Mike’ emblazoned.
But Skeete needed his third defence to keep the belt for good and with both fighters fighting for such honour – the opening was cagey.
In the opening round, gangly Skeete zipped out rasping jabs while Evans – the shorter and stockier man – looked for power punches as he ducked inside the champion.
Skeete relaxed and started dropping his lead left hand and was warned against it by two right hooks early on from the Welshman.
The champion looked the part in powder blue and gold kit and languid stance but it was all style and no substance as Evans and his dreams grew in stature.
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The wide hooks Evans was hurling were leaving him wide open but Skeete never took the chance to capitalise as four rounds slipped away.
A double jab and a big right was the start of Skeete’s best round in the fifth and as his confidence rose his left hand dropped in a sign of hubris he later failed to back-up.
In the eighth round it seemed the fans’ enthusiasm this cautious battle had begun to dip – the heat-holding Copper Box arena not helping their fight to remain engaged – round nine took an age to arrive and then vanished.
Evans would have known going into the final round that he needed an unlikely stoppage but selfish Skeete defended expertly and saw out the round to ensure he took the Lonsdale belt home to keep with a unanimous decision.
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