Matt Skelton Knows He Must Get It Right Against Francesco Pianeta

by James Slater - British big man Matt Skelton looked to many people like a fighter who, due to his amazing physical and mental strength, would never, ever suffer a stoppage defeat in his whole career. But back in February, against the incredible Martin Rogan of Northern Ireland, Skelton was stunned and so too were the fans, as "Rogie" managed to deck the "Bedford Bear" and stop him in the 11th-round of a great battle..

Five months on, and 42-year-old Skelton is getting ready to return to the ring after suffering what was the first TKO loss of his career and only his third setback in total. Having to travel once again to Germany (where Matt has fought previously on two occasions), Skelton will face a much younger man in undefeated southpaw Francesco Pianeta, in a bout that will decide the European Union heavyweight belt.

Skelton, who some fans felt would opt to call it a career after losing to Rogan, knows he can afford no slip-ups against the man with 18-0-1(11) record.

"He is a southpaw and a tidy fighter. He just beat the gentleman who stopped Danny Williams the last time," Skelton said of Pianeta. "He is obviously strong and he will bring a lot to the table and I know I need to get it right this time. I'm carrying on and I don't want to end on the [Rogan] loss. It's no good crying over spilt milk. I think I fought the wrong fight against Martin Rogan."

Showing the heart we always knew he had, Skelton will try and become the first man to beat the 24-year-old who was held to a draw by Danny Williams-conqueror Albert Sosnowski last time out (Matt is in error when he says Pianeta beat Sosnowski, indeed most people seemed to think Sosnowski was unlucky to have gone home with just a draw back in April).

Skelton spoke about how he is in no position to moan about the fight he has been offered.

"I'm a beggar at the moment and beggars can't be choosers and I just want to get back in there and they see him [Pianeta] as a fitting opponent," Matt said. "I need to go in there and prove myself. I want to go in and hopefully get the right result. I've been ticking over in the gym and doing roadwork. Today was [trainer] Kevin's [Sanders] and my first day back in the gym."

Interestingly, as Pianeta is a southpaw, Skelton may wind up sparring with Audley Harrison to get himself ready. Harrison's own career appears to be all but over, and now Skelton has to avoid ending up in the same position.

Pianeta had better get ready for yet another tough and gruelling fight.

Article posted on 17.07.2009

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