Audley Harrison eyes world title shot after Prizefighter victory
Audley Harrison insists his Prizefighter tournament triumph will be a springboard back to the boxing big time and a world heavyweight title shot
By LEN WHALEY
Audley Harrison claimed the �32,000 top prize in Barry Hearn's Prizefighter tournament on Friday night and boasted it was his springboard back to the boxing big time and a world heavyweight title shot.
The 37-year-old former Olympic gold medallist had earlier insisted he would quit the sport if he lost, but Harrison claimed the trophy with a second-round knockout of final opponent Coleman Barrett to reignite his fading career.
"I think I've now created an opportunity where hopefully I can achieve my goals," said former Repton amateur star Harrison, ignoring the boos of some fans.
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"My journey isn't about the criticism I get, it's about my own goal to be world champion. I get knocked down, but always get back up again."
"All roads lead to a world title so I want to go the quickest way possible."
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Harrison, who lived up to his A-Force nickname with a powerful display against Ireland's Barrett, could now be backed by Matchroom boss Barry Hearn as he goes for glory once again.
The latest eight-man, one-night Prizefighter tournament was held in front of over 5,000 fans at a packed ExCeL and provided the usual dose of thrilling action as fighters hit the canvas seven times.
Harrison claimed the title after a stoppage of quarter-final rival Scott Belshaw, who was formerly trained by Clapton's Brian Lawrence, and a semi-final points triumph over Danny Hughes before knocking out Barrett in the final.
Harrison displayed some crisp-hitting power when he unloaded, though he still looked hesitant and reluctant to take risks.
"The place was sold out and I've seen loads of coverage in the papers so there's still interest in Audley Harrison. After those three performances, there's still hope for me and hope for Britain to have a world champion," Harrison said.
Yet despite his encouraging form against near-novice opposition, he remains a long way from his goal of challenging the top heavyweight names on the world scene.
The future for British champion Danny Williams looks bleaker still after a sad points defeat against unfancied Carl Baker in the quarter-final.