Last night at the Burg-Waechter Castello in Dusseldorf, Germany, Ruslan Chagaev made the first defense of his WBA Heavyweight title by outpointing Commonwealth champion Matt Skelton over twelve rounds.
But Chagaev, 24-0-1 (17), certainly didn't have it easy as the bull-like Skelton first used his underrated boxing skills before beginning to exert his more familiar high pressure style upon the Hamburg based champion.
While Skelton's roughhouse style was effective at times, he was never able to surmount the younger man's faster-handed southpaw stance and also earned a point deduction in the eighth round for holding and hitting.
The burly British heavyweight continued to back the champion up but by the final round, Skelton's 40 years wore heavily upon him and he was thoroughly outboxed in the 12th by the champion, who took home a 117-111 and 117-110 (twice) decision.
After five and a half years as a pro, Skelton finally had his world title shot and gave a more than respectable account of himself. Chagaev is now poised to meet the winner of the upcoming Klitschko vs. Ibragimov unification bout.
On the undercard, Taras Bidenko, 25-2 (12), posted a unanimous decision over Cisse Salif, 22-9-2 (20), to retain the WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight crown, heavyweight Denis Boystov, 20-0 (18), stopped Tommy Connelly, 17-11 (13), in the first round, heavyweight Egon Roth, 19-0 (14), knocked out Sandor Forgacs, 3-17 (1), in the second and welterweight Jan Zaveck, 24-0 (14), stopped Pietro d'Alessio, 5-7-1 (4), in the fourth.
Also, British lightweight Anthony Crolla, 7-0 (5), knocked out Tomasz Kwiecien, 1-3 (0), in the fifth.