Boxing: Williams and Skelton have designs on title challenge

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The Independent Online

Lovers of grace and guile inside the ring are likely to be unimpressed tonight when Danny Williams and Matt Skelton meet for the second time.

The pair of heavyweights, whose combined weight is just under 40st, first clashed over 12 rounds in late February in a fight that was often ugly on the eye but was still a very impressive spectacle.

Williams, who is only 32, has been the resident best British heavyweight for about a decade. His domestic reign obviously operated under the championship days of Lennox Lewis, who for 10 years dominated various American venues.

In 2004 Williams finally put together inside the ropes what he had promised for so many years in gyms and ruined Mike Tyson to set up a genuine world title fight against Vitali Klitschko. However, the fight was a disaster and Williams left the Las Vegas ring facing retirement.

But strange things happen in boxing and 12 months later Williams beat the fallen Olympic idol Audley Harrison in front of 10 million viewers on TV and that was enough to put him back in contention for one more attempt at what passes for the world heavyweight title in the modern age.

Skelton was the obvious hurdle that needed clearing and when they stepped through the ropes in February they both fought like men under no illusions that the loser would be finished in the sport.

There is, however, always an alternative in boxing and the moment the split decision in Williams' favour was announced it was clear that the pair had to meet again and that is exactly what is set to happen this evening.

There is a chance, an obvious possibility, that if Skelton, who is 39, can beat Williams this evening at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, he will set up a third and hopefully final encounter between the pair. This is unlikely to happen as a world title showdown for good money and with a good chance of winning is on offer for the winner.

The show's promoter Frank Warren is confident that he can get the winner in the same city and ring as World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev. The Russian was once a joke because at 7ft 2in and 24st he was considered a freak but is now regarded as the best of the quartet of champions.

Sharing the limelight will be Amir Khan, having his eighth professional fight when he meets Scotland's Colin Bain over six rounds at light welterweight.

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