This Saturday, live on BoxNation, two British fighters go on the road in search of what would be career-best wins. First up is British welterweight champion Bradley Skeete, who fights in Bilbao against local favourite Kerman Lejarraga for the vacant European title. The south London man first gained his British title back in 2016 with an excellent display against Sam Eggington, and has since gone on to win the Lonsdale Belt outright. The big fights have eluded Skeete since then, however this is a great opportunity to stake a claim for a world title shot in the near future.
Skeete has the advantage in terms of experience over his Basque opponent. Whereas Bradley has fought the likes of Frankie Gavin and Sam Eggington, the most recognisable name on the Spanish champion’s ledger is Denton Vassell, who by the time of their fight in June 2016 was a few years removed from his peak. Skeete is also the more technical boxer, making good use of his long reach to keep opponents on the end of his jab. Lejarraga may not be as polished, but he is a come-forward aggressor who is hard to discourage, and carries considerable power. Skeete goes in as a solid favourite, although on away territory against a difficult opponent, he needs a big performance in order to pull off the victory here.
Overnight in Philadephia, Isaac Dogboe fights for the WBO super-bantamweight title against Jessie Magdaleno. The 23-year-old amateur standout competed for his birth country of Ghana at the 2012 Olympics before winning an ABA title at 60kg. Turning professional in 2014, in the first few years of his career, he found it difficult to get big fights out of his Ghana base. This year however, he has gathered some momentum, impressively beating former world title challenger Cesar Juarez inside 5 rounds in January for the WBO Interim title. Magdaleno will be another step up in class, as the Las Vegas native impressed in his November 2016 defeat of Nonito Donaire (although it could be argued that the Filipino veteran was perhaps past his best at the time).
Like Skeete-Lejarraga, this fight promises to throw up an intriguing clash of styles. The diminutive Dogboe (a mere 5’2 in height) likes to slip his opponent’s punches and get up close where he can land his own bombs, whereas Magdaleno (slightly taller at 5’4) is an awkward southpaw stylist who prefers to dart in and out of range. It has the makings of a very good fight, one in which I feel Dogboe may have just enough to win a first world title.