Matt Skelton only started boxing professionally four years ago at the age of 35 but today he stands on the brink of a world title shot after tugging the Commonwealth heavyweight crown from Danny Williams.
The Bedford man won a 117-112 (twice) 115-114 unanimous verdict after 12 gruelling rounds in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium which split ringsiders, and never quite reached the raw excitement of their first foul-filled brawl four months ago.
Coming late into the sport following a successful career on the K-1 kickboxing circuit in Japan, Skelton is the first to admit his rough and ready style is not exactly honed to the nuances of the noble art.
But in probably his best boxing performance to date he stayed on his toes long enough to convince the judges he deserved the verdict over the flat-footed Williams, despite the Brixton man landing the majority of the cleaner blows.
Now down-to-earth Skelton's story is likely to lead him towards a WBA title shot against giant Russian Nikolai Valuev, unless Williams is able to persuade the powers-that-be there is value in a rubber match.
Skelton said: "I want to move on to greater things and fight for big titles. I believe Valuev is beatable but I am not dismissing the fact there could be a third fight.
"I am not saying I am the best thing since sliced bread but I am a realist. Danny has been boxing since he was 10 and Amir Khan is 19. Hopefully people will remember that and not throw insults."
Williams indicated he would like the chance of a third meeting after his decision to come in at his heaviest ever 20st 8lbs backfired as he found himself unable to chase down an unusually fleet-footed opponent.
Skelton's change of tactics, plus the firm refereeing Howard Foster, ensured there would be no repeat of the February fireworks. Instead Skelton kept out of range, shook off Williams' accurate left jabs and sought to slowly break the heart of the come-forward champion.
Williams said: "After the final bell I knew Skelton had done enough. I thought he definitely won the fight." ..SUPL: