Carly Skelly Lands World Title Opportunity
When the American Jamie Mitchell beat Shannon Courtenay last October in Liverpool to win the WBA bantamweight title, Carly Skelly was there just as a spectator. But when Mitchell makes her first defence of her world title on February 5th, Skelly will be in the opposite corner.
The world title opportunity will come with an extra degree of satisfaction, relief even, for Skelly who has spent most of the pandemic period on the outside looking in, frozen out, might be a better description. There are many hard-luck stories during these troublesome times, Skelly is one of them.
In late 2020, Skelly was desperately unlucky not to have claimed the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title when she was only given a split-draw against the then-unbeaten Amy Timlin. This observer had Skelly winning, I was not alone in my thoughts.
When Timlin withdrew injured from a scheduled rematch and then decided to go in another direction soon after, Skelly was struggling for a way back in.
Fights subsequently came and went without reward. Skelly took time off from her day job as a pediatric nurse in anticipation of fight purses that never materialised. No fight, no pay. Fighters make sacrifices very few understand.
Skelly had hoped to finally claim the Commonwealth title late last year until that also fell through during fight week. But Skelly did still fight and beat Dorota Norek on points to claim the
WBC International super-bantamweight title. A tough fight against a fighter with obvious MMA experience. But the fight served many purposes.
But finally, things are looking up for a fighter who has campaigned long and hard for a shot at a world title. Skelly, now finally has her chance.
Skelly will travel to America early next month to fight Mitchell not only for a world title but also a fight at her natural fighting weight. A small detail that could have big implications on who wins in Phoenix.
Mitchell came to England to fight Courtenay as very much the opponent, Skelly will head to America in a similar fashion. Mitchell upset the odds, Skelly could very easily repeat what Mitchell did to Courtenay. The Liverpool fighter is a more than live underdog.