Audley Harrison to face Richel Hersisia
29.01.04 – When doors close, others open. Olympic Heavyweight Champion Audley Harrison announced today at a press conference at Home House in London he has just stepped through an open door that will give him the opportunity to challenge for a world title in his first fight of 2004 on Saturday, March 20th. “I came back home with the intent to fight Danny Williams for the British title,” said Harrison.
Article posted on 29.01.2004
With the recent loss of Williams to Michael Sprott and a possible fourth fight now looming between them, the British Boxing Board of Control have informed A-Force if a rematch is not ordered, Michael will not have to make a mandatory defence for six months.
Therefore, Harrison (14-0, 10KOs) will move on and make a bigger and bolder move by fighting the current WBF Heavyweight Champion Richel “The Dutch Sonny Liston” Hersisia (21-0, 16KOs,) who called Harrison out at the end of last year to see if he was bold enough to accept the challenge.
Olaf Schroder manager to Hersisia stated “There is a lot of hype surrounding Harrison and its time he stepped in with someone who represents a real challenge, Harrison is not going to cope with the pressure of Hersisia for 12 rounds, and I believe this will be a routine defence before we move Hersisia over to the states where exciting match-ups against the elite heavyweights remain”.
Wembley Arena in London will be the venue and Harrison’s promotional company, A-Force, and the fight will air on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC.) “I am working on a broadcast deal for March 20 that will allow British fight fans an opportunity to see their next heavyweight champion attempting to overcome the first significant hurdle of his career,” said Hazel Bruno-Gilbert, Business Manager for Audley Harrison. “I know the British public will get behind him as he attempts to overcome this rugged champion, and we fully expect a full and noisy crowd, reminiscent of Darling Harbour during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games where Audley was spurred on to victory by the great wave of public support he received. We are grateful to the management of Hersisia for giving us this voluntary defence and Harrison’s promises his British fans he will not disappoint”.
“It is hard for fighters to maintain their independence in boxing and I am not willing to sign away my boxing career to a promoter who can do nothing for me that I can’t do myself,” said Harrison. “The greater goal of my career is to become a global champion and if that means not fighting for the British title, as disappointing as that is to me and the team, I will have to sacrifice it and move on”
Instead Harrison will continue to rely on A-Force Promotions to navigate the calm and swelling seas yet to come in the course of his career. Regardless of how rough the waters get, he plans to stay the course he designed when he turn pro. “Nothing can stop me from realising my goal,” said Harrison. “The frustration I faced when I came home and realised I would be boxed out of the British heavyweight mix has turned in to a golden opportunity for me to fight for a world title.
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S PRESSER IN LONDON HEAVYWEIGHT
The official press conference to announce Audley Harrison’s (14-0,10KOs) next fight was held today at the Home House in London. Harrison, who announced he is fighting for the WBF Heavyweight Championship against current title holder Richel Hersisia (21-0, 16KOs,) was in attendance along with his business manager Hazel Bruno, BBC Head of Boxing Strategy Mike Lewis, and Germany promoter Olaf Shroder, who represented Hersisia, who was schedule to attend but was delayed when weather forced the cancellation of his flight from Holland to the UK.
As usual, Harrison was his eloquent self and spoke about his upcoming fight as well as his plans for the year. Overall the stage is set for Harrison’s first move of the new-year, which includes a promised immediate step up in stature and competition.
“I have had a great professional career so far. I went to the States the later part of this past year to continue my career and in so doing, received tremendous experience and exposure.
“I came back to England after three fights in the States this past year to fight for the British title. I said I wanted to fight for the title, it’s definitely important to me; but the politics of boxing—promotional ties with the other heavyweights and conflicting television deals—makes it impossible for me to do that at the moment. I might be in the same position as our beloved Frank Bruno, who also wanted to fight for the British title but never had a chance.
“But most importantly, I am BACK. I am looking forward to going back to Wembley Arena where it all started when over 5,000 screaming fans came out to witness my professional debut. I expect to see the same on March 20th and am looking forward to fighting back home at Wembley.
“This is definitely a step-up for me as Hersisia is ranked in the European top 10, he has a championship and he is an undefeated fighter. I think his skills and ability is above the domestic competition here in Great Britain. He has a title, regardless of its importance in boxing, and a victory over Hersisia means a championship, an elevated forward movement in my career and an immediate move up in the rankings.
“My career waits for no one and I am moving forward. I am going to have an extremely aggressive year of boxing. The bottom line is I’M CLIMBING UP. I have spoken to Lennox Lewis and I keep begging him to stay at the top until I get there so he can pass the torch to me, his fellow countryman.
“I believe I am the future of the heavyweight division and I plan to become the champion of the world. I have so far done everything I have set out to do and what I said I was going to do. It won’t be any different now.”
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