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Boxing Preview Analysis: Ruslan Chagaev vs. Matt Skelton

A big weekend of fight action kicks off this Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany when Britain's Matt Skelton challenges unbeaten Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan for the WBA World Heavyweight Championship.

Skelton, a late starter in the professional ranks, has only one defeat in 22 fights, scoring 18 knockouts. A never say die brawler, Skelton was previously a kick boxer before joining the professional boxing ranks five years ago at age 35.

Realising time wasn't on his side, Skelton would win the English Heavyweight title in only his eighth professional bout, scoring a sixth round win over Michael Holden in September 2003.

Five fights later in April 2004, he captured the British and Commonwealth title in a brutal fight with champion Michael Sprott, winning in the 12th and final round.

His only defeat occurred in February 2006 against Danny Williams when he lost a split decision over 12 rounds. However, Skelton would gain revenge five months later, winning a decision in an easily forgettable fight.

In Chagaev, he meets a champion unbeaten in 23 professional bouts. Most of Chagaev's professional career has been spent in his adopted homeland of Germany. The champion will be conceding two inches in height to his challenger this Saturday night. That's nothing however compared to the masive 11 inches he conceded when he annexed the title from Nikolay Vaulev back in April of last year. Other names on the champion's record include John Ruiz, who he decisioned in November 2006.

Most people are giving Skelton little or no chance this Saturday. Chagaev is certainly an accomplished boxer with an extensive amateur background. What Skelton has going for him however, is height, hunger and awkardness.

The challenger knows that this is his big chance to shine and I've no doubt that Skelton will give a great account of himself. Chagaev ,however, is quality and I feel that we still haven't seen the best of him.

I feel Skelton will have his moments and his awkardness could cause Chagaev problems early on. However, in analysing a result, all I can say is that my heart says Skelton but my head says Chagaev.

In this toughest sport of all, I must go for what my head says. Chagaev by unanimous decision.

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