Boxing: Williams hopes clear head opens route to world title

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The Independent Online

Danny Williams and Matt Skelton are once again scheduled to meet tonight at about 10pm in the ring at the ExCel Arena but their previous history suggests anything could happen before the first bell.

They missed each other last July when Williams withdrew less than 20 hours before the fight and on Thursday Williams took flight again at an apparent slight from Skelton, who was delayed stuck in traffic, and left the final photo opportunity in a huff.

Once they have been gathered from the relative safety of their own changing-rooms there is every chance that the wait will be worth every second.

Skelton will enter as the British champion and with a record of 18 wins, 17 by stoppage, in a whirlwind career that only started in September 2002. The big man from Bedford is 39 and only turned to pugilism after his career on the K-1 circuit in the Far East ended.

By the time Skelton's fists had ruined Gifford Shillingford in his debut the long and unfulfilled career of Williams was about to turn nasty. In early 2003 all the promise was punched out of him one painful night in Berlin in a European title fight with Sinan Samil Sam.

"It's been a hard career in many ways with far too many ups and downs," admitted Williams. "But now my head is right, I can see exactly where I am going." The winner of tonight's fight will in theory get a chance to challenge the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev this year.

Tonight the winner will be the man who best understands the way Williams is thinking and fighting because if the best Williams arrives in the ring Skelton will be easily beaten.

Meanwhile, on the under card but part of the live broadcast, Amir Khan will win for the sixth time when he meets Norwich's Jackson Williams at light welterweight over six rounds.

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