By Jake Donovan
Bradley Skeete will remain on the February 15 bill at Copper Box Arena in London, but now has a new opponent after Vivian Harris was pulled from the show.
The unbeaten welterweight will now face France's Christopher Sebire, who was brought in on short notice once the show's organizers were informed that Harris failed his pre-fight medical exam.
The rest of the card remains intact. Dereck Chisora headlines versus American heavyweight Kevin Johnson, who was brought in earlier in the month to replace an ill Andriy Rudenko. In the evening's co-feature, Tyson Fury faces journeyman Joey Abell.
Wins by Chisora and Fury will lead to a likely rematch in the summer, thus bringing additional attention to Saturday's show. Skeete is still eager to put on a great performance, though disappointed it will now have to come again an opponent with whom he is not entirely familiar.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work in the gym for the Harris fight so I’m glad that I’m still fighting," said Skeete (14-0, 4KO), who learned of the new opponent Wednesday morning. "Obviously it’s a big disappointment that Harris is out as he would have been a fantastic name on my record to have, but if he’s failed a medical that’s beyond my control.
"I wish him all the best and hope he’s okay. I’ve got to focus on my new opponent with my trainer Alan Smith and remain professional throughout.”
Skeete is coming off of his biggest victory to date, a 10-round points win over Colin Lynes last November. Saturday's fight becomes merely a showcase appearance, as Sebire (22-7, 8KO) has lost four of his last six, and has yet to beat anyone of note, in addition to moving up from super lightweight for this bout.
Still, any opponent would seem to be an upgrade over the current version of Harris (31-9-2, 19KO).
While the former 140 lb. titlist has won two straight - including a disputed upset win over Danny O'Connor last October - the misleading turnaround came on the heels of an eight-fight winless streak over a span of three years. Five of those bouts resulted in knockout losses, with seven of his nine career losses coming inside the distance.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox