28 February 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Martin Rogans remarkable rise within the heavyweight ranks continued on Saturday night, with the Belfast native claiming the Commonwealth title by inflicting a first-ever stoppage defeat upon Martin Skelton.
Rogan may have gone into the bout undefeated and a man brimming with confidence after following up his shock Prizefighter success with a deserved points win over former Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison, but he was still the rank outsidet against Skelton, who only last December added the European title to his Commonwealth crown with a win over Paolo Vidoz.
However, Rogie, despite giving away home advantage and 22lbs in weight, bossed and bullied Skelton from the off, dragging the Bedford native into a brutal war of attrition.
Skelton impressed when he managed to engineer space for himself on the outside but Rogans pressure was relentless and he successfully managed to turn the bout into a slugfest.
Landing regularly with clubbing right hands, Rogan opened up a cut over Skelton’s left eye in the fifth before coming desperately close to stopping his clearly tiring opponent in the eighth. The 42-year-old Skelton survived the onslaught but not for long.
Indeed, in the 11th, he was tagged by a thundering left hand. Rogan, seeing that Skeltons legs had gone, followed that stunning shot up with a series of vicious right hands until the Briton eventually slumped to the canvas.
Skelton beat the count but Rogan offered him no respite, unloading on the champion until the referee, John Keane, called a halt to the contest just as Skeltons corner was throwing in the towel.
It was a remarkable victory and one which has now left the seemingly evergreen Rogan within touching distance of a world title shot.