Chagaev showed his class against Skelton's challenge
Britain's Matt Skelton failed in his attempt to win the WBA world heavyweight title from defending champion Ruslan Chagaev in Dusseldorf.
The 40-year-old from Bedford lost on a unanimous points decision after a tough bout against the Uzbekistan boxer.
Skelton battled hard all the way through the 12 rounds but lost 110-117, 111-117 and 111-117.
"It didn't happen but I've got no intention of quitting and I intend to fight on," said Skelton.
The defeat brought to an end Skelton's world title hopes after making his belated professional debut at the age of 35.
Skelton started well, wrestling himself inside and scoring enough early success to take the opener before the champion started the second round better.
Chagaev caused problems with a couple of lefts into the side of Skelton's head but the Briton shook it off and started the third in superb fashion behind his jab.
But the Uzbek's powerful left hands helped him clearly take round four and for all Skelton's efforts, it was the champion's cleaner and much cleverer work which saw him winning the round.
I'm hurt and I'm gutted but I've got no intention of quitting
Two excellent hooks right at the end of the fifth had Skelton holding on for the first time but he responded well, clawing in closer in the sixth, though he ended the round bleeding from the nose.
Things got worse when Skelton walked into two booming lefts early in the seventh but he responded with an excellent left uppercut of his own.
Skelton was deducted a point in the eighth round but it was unlikely to matter at that stage, with Chagaev barging his way into the lead.
Chagaev ended the ninth with a stiff hook and poured in big shots at the start of the 10th.
Skelton continued battling until the final bell but he was almost out on his feet as Chagaev roared forward for a final time leaving the Briton disappointed.
"I'm hurt and I'm gutted," said Skelton. "It doesn't matter if people tell me I fought a good fight and showed a lot of heart, the bottom line is I got my chance and I lost the fight. I want to be a winner.
"Chagaev was a good fighter. He doesn't waste punches and I probably haven't been hit any harder in my career. But I really thought I would win and I felt I just threw the fight away in the latter half.
"It's been a great journey for me. I only started boxing less than six years ago and I got to this stage and got my chance to reach the mountain top."