BRITISH welterweight champion Bradley Skeete was left bitterly frustrated when WBO world champion Jeff Horn declined to accept a world title defence with him and instead opted for Gary Corcoran.

Horn was a shock victor over Manny Pacquiao this year and Skeete, highly ranked with the WBO, was clamouring for that world title shot. “I was close to getting the Jeff Horn fight,” Bradley explained. “I would have beat Jeff Horn, 100 per cent. He was made for me.

“No disrespect for Gary, saying he’s an easy option, because I think it’s a tough fight. Gary’s a tough fight and he’s going out there to get the win. But it’s clear if you look down the list, I’m ranked number three. I was ready and available. We spoke broad terms and I agreed everything. They obviously went away, done their homework and then decided they didn’t want the fight.

“They didn’t want me because they knew I would beat him. I would have boxed his head off.

“He just didn’t want the fight.”

But his road to the WBO world title is now blocked. “That’s gone. They looked elsewhere. What’s the other options now? Regarding the WBO, I’m ranked number three. That’s pretty much tied up now. [Terence] Crawford’s moved up and he’s the mandatory now. So the winner of Jeff Horn and Corcoran will have to defend against Crawford within 90 days and then Crawford winning, he’ll be looking for maybe a super-fight with Pacquiao. The WBO route now to me is gone, to be honest. It’s gutting. Being so close to that world title fight,” Skeete lamented. “It’s frustrating but [Crawford] is an exceptional fighter and it’s a rule. Rules are rules. If the champion at the weight below moves up, then he gets put into the mandatory position.

Bradley Skeete

“He’s a great fighter and I believe he’ll do as well at welterweight as he did at light-welterweight. So it’s frustrating, me being so close and then him moving up and getting the number one spot. But he’s a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll do well at the weight.”

“My only option is European level at the minute. Then crack on, work my way up the rankings and try to get made mandatory for one of the belts,” Bradley reflected.

“I make decent fighters look average. Until I get a fight at world level and get these big fights, it’s going to show. I’ve got world champions swerving me.”