Audley Harrison - "My Best Years Are Ahead Of Me"
by James Slater -- At one time, it seemed the pro career of Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison would match the talented Brit's amateur success. In becoming the first U.K fighter to win a gold medal at the Olympics since Chris Finnegan in 1968, "A-Force" was a household name even before returning home from Sydney. He had it all on a plate..
Article posted on 01.07.2008
However, some eight years on from his glory in Australia, Harrison has yet to prove he can really fight as a pro. Long before he'd racked up his first 19 pro wins public interest in the big southpaw began to fade. Accused of boxing only poor opposition, the fans cheered when Harrison was beaten for the first time - on points to fellow Brit Danny Williams in late 2005. Fight people now looked at Audley as a fake, as opposed to a hero and future world champion.
The cheers were even louder when Harrison lost to Michael Sprott just over a year later. This time Harrison was knocked flat inside three rounds. "A-Force" now had to suffer the ignominy of becoming all but a national joke. Justifiably incensed at the general public's opinion of him, the undeniably talented 6'4.5" southpaw refused to give up. Coming back after suffering both a family bereavement and a serious car crash, Harrison, now aged 36, beat the average Jason Barnett inside five rounds this past April.
Next up for Audley is tough Irishman Martin Rogan, and Harrison is still convinced he will become a world champion before he's finished. Using his desire to prove the doubters (of which there are many) wrong, Harrison has no trouble getting motivated these days.
Speaking on an article that appeared on The Sporting Life recently, Harrison made it clear he feels the best is yet to come from his once ultra-promising career. Speaking ahead of his July 19th fight with Rogan, the 22-3(17) heavyweight had the following things to say.
"I honestly feel my best years are ahead of me," Harrison said. "My state of mind and the way I feel, the way I'm training, the way I'm looking, convinces me. In terms of career achievements my best years are ahead of me. I haven't picked up the belts I want to as a professional. They are the goals I've set myself and my goal is to win a world title. I am still confident I will do this before I walk away from the sport."
One has to admire Harrison's continued determination. After being felled by the relatively light-punching Sprott, Audley could very easily have curled up into a ball and hid himself away, never to be seen in the public eye again. In choosing to fight on, "A-Force" has shown genuine character. Possessing "the skills to pay the bills," as former conqueror and victim (they boxed a return and Harrison, in his career-best showing, stopped Danny in four rounds) Williams says of Audley, the 36-year-old is without a doubt gifted. Of course, it remains to be seen how Harrison's chin and heart will serve him when next a tough fight comes around.
Looking ahead, the 36-year-old southpaw sees nothing but a bright future.
"I am looking ahead in a positive mood and honestly believe I can claim a world title," Audley said. "I am planting the seeds and the fruits are going to be borne. I am not going to be denied!"
Now trained by James "Buddy" McGirt Senior and with the second bout in his comeback taking place against Rogan on July 19th, the final round of Harrison's career is underway.
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