BOXING: GIVE GOLDEN BOY AUDLEY A CHANCE; Promoter Makes Plea for Harrison.(Sport)

Article excerpt


AUDLEY HARRISON'S promoter, Jess Harding, is confident that he has finally got the mix right.

Harrison fights for the fifth time at the ExCell Exhibition Centre in London's Docklands on Tuesday night against unbeaten British heavyweight Mark Krence.

The Olympic champion's first four professional fights have brought mixed reviews, but Harding knows this time it will be all right on the night.

Harding insists: "Muhammad Ali, Frank Bruno and Mike Tyson all had off nights in the ring. They were involved in some bad fights at the start of their careers.

"Bruno and Ali had fights pulled from TV because they were dull. When Tyson met James "Quick" Tillis it was all on the last round but nobody talks about that fight now.

"All heavyweights have to go through a long learning curve and I accept that criticism is part of that process.

"Audley has taken a lot of flack and he has taken it well," says Harding, who fought for the British heavyweight title.

Harrison's start in the professional ranks has been called a farce by his fiercest critics.

His first victim was a private eye from Florida called Mike Middleton and he went in less than three minutes. And the next three victims have only been a bit better.

Victim No 2 was Kettering's Dereck McCafferty, who went six rounds. But his last two opponents collapsed the first time Audley caught them with a punch.

Harrison's return to the ring just three weeks after his last fight means that he is in the best shape of his career.

"I'm not sure I could have taken the stick he has," added Harding. …