Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I'll Never Surrender Pledges Harrison

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I'll Never Surrender Pledges Harrison

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Stainforth

Audley Harrison has pledged to put his crumbling career back on track when he challenges Commonwealth heavyweight champion Matt Skelton at London's ExCel in December.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist sees victory over Skelton on December 9 as a "quicker route" to a world title shot, after slumping to successive defeats against British rival Danny Williams and American Dominick Guinn.

Harrison (pictured right), having based his boxing career in the USA after the BBC had funded his first 10 fights to the tune of more than pounds 1m, grasped the lifeline when promoter Frank Warren offered him the chance to meet Skelton.

"The losses to Williams and Guinn have put me in a different position. I had to look at the options," he said when he came face to face with Skelton in London yesterday.

"This opportunity has come up, and it's a quicker route to the top. Matt is ranked in the WBC at number 12, so it's a way back. The winner will be in line for a world title fight and could be only two fights away."

Harrison, booed at the ExCel for his reluctant approach against Williams who handed him his first professional defeat last December, claimed he was unable to raise his performance after a "nightmare" build-up to the fight ( with trainer Thel Torrence also working with American heavyweight Hasim Rahman.

Since then he has begun working with new trainer Buddy McGirt, the former world welterweight champion.

Harrison denied claims that he was "scared" in the Williams fight, insisting: "I'm no quitter. I'm not a surrenderer. He put me down with a good shot, but I got up and had my best round in the 11th."

His next fight saw his stock slump even further with another disappointing performance which saw him out-pointed in California by Guinn, who was also trying to re-establish himself after setbacks. …

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