Boxing


Dimitrenko Wants Harrison's European Title, But Will "A-Force" Vacate The Belt And Get His Dream Fight With A Klitschko?

by James Slater - Once-beaten giant Alexander Dimitrenko of Ukraine is new European heavyweight champion Audley Harrison's mandatory contender, and the 27-year-old with the 29-1(19) record has made it clear he very much wants the fight as soon as possible. However, there is word that southpaw Harrison - who scored the biggest win of his near ten-year pro career by starching Michael Sprott in that sensational 12th-round this past Friday - may chose to vacate his newly acquired European honours and go for a dream fight of a world heavyweight title challenge..

"A-Force," who is known for wearing T-shirts with "Yes I can" emblazoned on the front, in reference to his belief that he can still shock the odds and become a world heavyweight ruler, wants to fight one of the currently all-conquering Klitschko brothers (which heavyweight doesn't?). And, according to his co-promoter, Eddie Hearn, who has spoken with The Guardian, the Klitsckos are "definitely interested" in a fight with Audley.

Giving up the European title and then moving in to a world heavyweight title fight seems to be a new trend right now; what with Poland's Albert Sosnowski (the original opponent for Harrison on April 9th, before the Pole was given a dream shot of his own against WBC king Vitali Klitschko) doing the exact same thing. Will Harrison choose to ignore Dimitrenko, and if he does, will he actually land a title fight with either Wladimir or Vitali?

Fans may still joke about Harrison and his chances of even getting a world title opportunity, much less of winning a major belt, but the fact is, with his European title win last Friday, the 38-year-old became, in the eyes of some, a creditable contender.

"The Klitschkos told me they are definitely interested in Audley," Hearn said. "They recognise he is now a serious contender and know a fight with him could make them serious money; especially as we have a near guarantee from Sky that the fight will be shown on pay-per-view.

"Our hope is for it to take place in December."

As is often the case with the heavyweight division (or any division come to that), things are pretty confusing right now. Ring magazine, IBF and WBO ruler Wladimir Klitschko has just released a video message in which he calls out WBA champ David Haye, and it seems "Dr. Steel Hammer" is desperate to get that fight signed sealed and delivered. So Audley looks to be out of luck with that particular champion. WBC boss Vitali has to take care of Sosnowski on May 29th, but then, theoretically, he could then take another voluntary and fight Harrison.

Haye, too, if he doesn't accept Wladimir's challenge, could also face Harrison - but the backlash "The Hayemaker" would receive from the critics if he took a step in that direction would be fierce, without a doubt. And then of course, there is the matter of Harrison's injured right shoulder; when will the former Olympian be ready to box again?

Adding to the murky picture we have of who will fight who at heavyweight championship level, is the whole Alexander Povetkin, Sam Peter scenario. Wladimir, has Povetkin as his #1 according to the IBF and Peter as his #2 with the same organisation, may be forced to fight one of the two next or face being stripped of his IBF crown.

Perhaps Audley Harrison should keep hold of his European belt, look to make some money defending it until the picture clears atop the heavyweight division, and then try and get a fight with one of the champions. For unless either Haye or Vitali Klitschko chooses to take him on, he will face a long wait for a world title shot.

But does Harrison relish the idea of accepting Dimitrenko's challenge?

Article posted on 12.04.2010



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