Actor Matthew Mcconaughey has been keeping a secret from his fans - he's a wrestling champion in remote Africa.

The A TIME TO KILL star trekked through Africa in 2000, staying in villages and meeting locals, who had no idea about his star status.

When word spread he was teaching kids how to box on his travels, he was challenged to a wrestling match by a local champion, called MICHEL - and he won.

He says, "The (village) chief steps in, grabs both our hands, raised them. The crowd of about 80 screamed and cheered loudly... and I got pounds and pats on the back.

"(I learned) Michel is not only champion of this village, but he's champion of this village and four villages back."

The actor returned to the village, who he has agreed not to name, while he was filming new movies SAHARA - and he's still a local hero.

He says, "I went back and saw him (Michel) three years later. He had four kids, blew his shoulder out. We didn't wrestle but we hung out and drank some beer."

08/04/2005 02:53