Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boxing: Skelton: I'll Make Most of Fairytale; Matt Targets Happy Ending

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boxing: Skelton: I'll Make Most of Fairytale; Matt Targets Happy Ending

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Staniforth

MATT Skelton is the first to admit he boasts neither the experience of Tommy Farr, the talent of Lennox Lewis or the popularity of Frank Bruno or Henry Cooper.

But tonight in Dusseldorf the 40-year-old from Bedford becomes the 14th British boxer to challenge for a major version of the world heavyweight title, and aims to complete a story to match them all.

Former kickboxing champion Skelton did not make his professional debut until he had turned 35, but 21 fights later he finds himself challenging Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA version of the so-called richest prize in sport.

The Rumble in the Jungle it most certainly is not. But Skelton insists he has it within himself to make the most of his unlikely chance, and stand alongside so many of the boxing legends in the history books.

Skelton said: "I'm not a massive character and I'm not an exceptional stylist. Maybe that's why nobody really knows me. But my aim is to win the fight and if it's not pleasing to anyone I can't do anything about that. "From my point of view this is a fairytale. I had no amateur background and I didn't put on gloves of any sort until I was 21. Here I am fighting for one of the major world titles. For me it's a dream come true. I'm not saying I'm a Frank Bruno or a Lennox Lewis. But after the fight you will look back in the history books and see my name up there with them, and that is a great privilege."

The way Skelton laboured to victory in a truly dreadful fight against his former foe Michael Sprott in July suggested his chances of securing a major world heavyweight title shot would remain a pipe-dream. But the doubters reckoned without Chagaev's connections scouring the continent for an opponent for a routine first defence of the title the Uzbek won last year with an accomplished win over Russian giant Nikolai Valuev. …

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