Belfast Telegraph

Rogan and Skelton in last chance saloon

By David Kelly

Two years ago it was all about the belt, now it seems to be all about saving their careers when Matt Skelton and Martin Rogan clash on November 12 at the King’s Hall.

Between the two of them they have a combined age of 84 and both men are desperate to find their way back into title contention.

Rogan (40) stopped Skelton to win the Commonwealth heavyweight title in the 11th round of a brutal encounter at NlA, Birmingham in 2009 and will be favourite to repeat the victory as since then the Bedford Bear has been stopped twice, losing three of his last six fights.

Rogan had hoped to be boxing for the WBU title this month but that fell through when the British Boxing Board of Control confirmed they would not sanction such a bout, a decision that clearly still irks Rogan.

“I think it’s terrible. By not acknowledging it, does that erase the whole history of all the WBU champions? It’s still being fought for in America,” said Rogan, who pulled off his trouser belt and declared it to be on the line next month.

“It mightn’t be one of the four major belts in the world but the fact is when you win a belt no matter how creditable people think that belt is, when you bring it home to your children and put it on the mantlepiece, it’s what your kids think and your grandkids think that matters.

“I think it’s wrong what they did with the WBU belt.

“I’ve been out of the ring for a year but things can’t be helped, unfortunately you can’t get promoters to help you — they’re only interested in certain fighters and certain fights.

“Matt has been out of the ring himself. A lot of people out of the ring for a year would like an easier challenge but it’s boxing and it’s the toughest sport out there.

“I’m up against the toughest fighter I’ve fought.”

Former British, Commonwealth and European champion Skelton — who also once held the WBU bauble — believes he can put the record straight with Rogan.

“I lost the first encounter with Martin, it came at the wrong time for me — at a tough time in my life.

“Looking back, my trainer at the time told me not to take the fight, there was a lot going on in my life and although we sit here and say training has been going great, it wasn’t — there were days when I didn’t go to the gym due to personal reasons.

“Two weeks before the fight I was told not to fight. But no matter, as a friend says to me I’m a prizefighter and the prize is to feed my family. In hindsight I should have listened.”

While some might point to his age and suggest he should hang up his gloves, Skelton dismisses such talk.

“People speak about age but I came into the game very late at 36, had no amateur experience but I spend a lot of time in the gym and I’m not one of these fighters who balloon up in weight. I’m looking forward to the fight because we both come to have a real fight.”

Former British featherweight champion Martin Lindsay is also on the bill as he seeks to revive his career which took a nosedive earlier this year when he lost the Lonsdale belt to John Simpson.

Super-featherweight Kevin O’Hara, welter Stephen Haughian, featherweight Marc McCullough and super-bantam Stevie Quinn also feature.

Belfast Telegraph


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