Carly Skelly: “I am fit and ready and I want to fight now.”

Carly Skelly: “I am fit and ready and I want to fight now.

Carly Skelly (3-0-1) woke up this morning with a fight very much on her mind. The rematch with Amy Timlin (4-0-1) was only 10 days away. A return to the Matchroom bubble imminent. But her day has ended in disappointment and frustration. The fight with Timlin for the vacant super-bantamweight title is off. Timlin has withdrawn from the fight citing a hernia and a rib injury:

“Gutted, it was so close to the fight. I was just starting to get things organised to get ready to go down to the bubble next week, so I am really gutted about it.”

Skelly had no indication the fight was in any danger of being cancelled. The shattering news came completely out of the blue:

“I had no idea it was to be called off. I had just picked my kids up and sorted some fight logos out, and literally, as I walked through the door my coach rang me and said I have got some bad news, the fights off. He said I will find out and get back to you, and then he called back and said her manager said she has been struggling with a hernia and won’t be fit for the fight.”

The previous fight with Timlin left Skelly feeling frustrated despite a good performance in a really entertaining fight. The Liverpool fighter felt she had done more than enough to have her hand raised, this observer agreed, having Skelly up 6-4 in rounds. Skelly believes that first fight has left doubt in her opponent’s mind:

“I can’t project what is going on in her life but I feel there is a lot going on in her mind at the moment, there might be a lot of doubt as the fight got closer and it all got a bit much for her and she needed more time. I don’t know for sure but that is my personal opinion. I have had a hernia for a few years now and you learn to cope and live with it, but we are all different.”

Most of the hard work of training camp was behind her, and Skelly was excited to show that she is a much better fighter than the one we saw last October:

“I had three more sessions left, three more tough days to do and then it was wind down for the fight and let the body recover. The camp had gone brilliant since the last fight I haven’t really stopped training. We got around 5 weeks notice for the fight and in those 5 weeks, we have taken my training up to another level. I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been and we have had some really good sparring, and that makes it even more upsetting to be told the fight is off and so late in the day.”

Skelly is a contract nurse for the NHS and had taken time off from work to prepare for the initial meeting last year. But with a return to work nearing, the call for the rematch came, and Skelly decided to concentrate on preparing for the rematch. But the late cancellation has left Skelly badly out of pocket:

“That’s the frustrating thing, I was ready to go back to work and do a few shifts and then we got the call to say the fight is on for February 20th and I decided to leave it a bit longer and just focus on the fight. I put everything in for the fight instead of going back to work and now the fight is off I don’t get paid. I am lucky I have sponsors which obviously helps, but that just helps you to get by, so it is a bit of a financial hit.”

Skelly badly wants the rematch, it is a fight she sees as unfinished business. But there is some degree of doubt if and when the fight will happen:

“Eddie has said he will get the fight rescheduled on one of his shows over the next couple of months. But when that is I don’t know, because Amy might need surgery and that will mean it is even longer for the fight to happen and the longer it goes on the less likely it is to happen in my eyes. I just want that rematch and get what I felt I was denied last time.”

The rematch could be months away if Timlin needs surgery or the rehabilitation period is an extended one. Skelly doesn’t plan on waiting too long for Timlin, and already, potential new opponents are being mentioned in the matchmaking world of social media:

“100% I would take another fight. I don’t want to wait around, I am fit and ready and I want to fight now. We are just going to try and see what we can get. It would be ideal if we could stay on the same show and find another opponent, there are plenty of girls out there. A fight with Lisa Whiteside is one I would always take, that is another fight with unfinished business, I have had unfair decisions against her in the amateurs. But Lisa is not ready now and I want somebody for next Saturday. Bec Connolly has been mentioned on social media, she is someone I have boxed before, so that is a fight I would take if it got me on the show. A few others have been mentioned like Ellie Scotney, that is another fight I am more than happy to take.”

Whoever is in the immediate future for Skelly, there are a plethora of potential opponents waiting in the wings. Names are plenty in and around her weight division. The likes of Rachel Ball, Shannon Courtenay and Ebanie Bridges could be in her future. Fights which would give her further exposure on the Matchroom platform.

Skelly, despite it being a day of disappointment, has plenty to look forward to. She might have to be patient in the short-term, but Skelly should see the opportunities she deserves materialise at some point in 2021, but for now, all she wants is a fight.

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