Boxing: Skelton brings breath of fresh air to division

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The Independent Online

It has been a long time since a genuinely nice guy has held a title of any description in British boxing but that could change tonight at Dagenham's Goresbrook leisure centre.

Matt Skelton is one of the nice guys and in tonight's inaugural fight for the English heavyweight title he meets one of the sport's proper hardmen in Michael Holden.

The good guys have vanished from the boxing scene and have been replaced by far too many wealthy big-mouths or anonymous millionaires. Skelton is a breath of fresh air in a division held to ransom by Audley Harrison.

Skelton, 32, arrived in the sport after a brief period in Japan as a K-1 fighter. Tonight is his eighth bout as a boxer.

Holden, 35, a former British heavyweight champion, is by no means past his best but he needs success tonight more than Skelton. It is an intriguing encounter because there is just the slight possibility that Skelton can cause some serious havoc in a domestic heavyweight division that is currently in a healthier state than it has been for many decades.