Hearn: Audley Harrison could fight for a world title inside a year; Baker urges Danny Williams to retire

BARRY Hearn believes Prizefighter Heavyweights III winner Audley Harrison could have a shot at a world title before 2011. Hearn, who promoted Friday’s Prizefighter event, thinks Harrison, 37, is finally showing his ability after winning an Olympic gold in 2000. “Winning Prizefighter is the biggest thing that has happened to Audley Harrison since turning professional and he did it with style and power,” said Hearn. “He showed people he has ability and turned the boos into cheers..

“I’ve watched Audley’s career since he turned professional with an Olympic gold medal around his neck.

“He’s had his critics - I’ve been one of them - who have complained he talks a great fight but doesn’t deliver.

“Audley is a great self-publicist but on Friday he showed he is a great fighter and a potential world-beater.

“His style is infuriating and I would hate to train him as I he believe he has a gameplan that he concocts himself and, as usual, listens to nobody.

“The fact is though, he is a class act as every punch that knocked down three different opponents was executed quite beautifully and would’ve had a concussive effect on any heavyweight in the world.

“Where does Audley go from him? Well, it all depends on Audley!

“If he concentrates on his boxing and allows professionals to do their job properly, then I believe he could get a crack at a world heavyweight title in the next 12 months.

“Lets be honest, time isn’t on his side. He’s coming up to his 38th birthday and few television networks are, at this moment, banging the door down to have him on their station.

“It’s harsh but true so he needs to do a job inside and outside of the ring.

“For me the plan would be simple. A quick warm-up, fight a European challenger, then straight for a world title. Achievable? Yes. Impossible? No. Likely? Who knows? It depends on Audley.”

Harrison had threatened to quit boxing if he failed in Prizefighter but impressive victories over Scott Belshaw and previously undefeated duo Danny Hughes and Coleman Barrett saved his career.

However, he was still booed by a number of people among a sell-out crowd of 5,000 at the ExCel Arena in London and Hearn believes Harrison should do his talking in the ring.

“People will always boo a fighter that talks a good fight and doesn’t deliver,” added Hearn. “He has lost to Michael Sprott and Martin Rogan and that did not fit with his assertions that he was going to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

“The British public like to see triers, not posers. They like heart and effort as well as quality and Audley hadn’t shown enough of that in the past. But on Friday he began to show what he can do. The manor of his victory has reinvented some level of British support but there’s still a long way to go.

“Had Audley not won Prizefighter, the only way for him to go would’ve been retirement. The fact he won it means he has one last chance on his personal road to redemption and a last crack at achieving his dreams.

“It’s not going to be easy and there’s still a long, hard road ahead but at least he is travelling in the right direction.”


DANNY Williams should retire from professional boxing – according to the man who beat him in Friday’s Prizefighter Heavyweights III.

Carl ‘The Fridge’ Baker, 27, stunned the boxing world when he claimed a points victory over British Champion Williams in their three-round contest at London’s ExCel Arena.

Baker, who had only fought once in three years before Barry Hearn’s latest Prizefighter tournament, floored Williams twice in the first 90 seconds of their quarter-final fight.

“I think he should hang up his gloves,” said Baker. “Danny said before the event he would retire if he didn’t win and I hope he does

“Some papers had me down as a journeyman, which was a bit unfair. But after I beat Danny like that, I wouldn’t want to see someone else do that to him as well.

“When you’re getting beaten like that from a novice you should get out of there. To be honest, I shouldn’t have been in the same ring as Danny Williams and wouldn’t have been normally away from Prizefighter.

“He ended Mike Tyson’s career and got in with Vitali Klitschko for the world title so can be proud of what he has achieved.”

Baker lost in the Prizefighter semi-finals to Ireland’s Coleman Barrett, who then lost in the final to former Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison.

Williams, 36, is likely to be stripped of his British title later this month and Baker, who has won nine of 13 professional fights, wants a crack at the Lonsdale belt.

“As I’ve just beaten the British Champion, if that title becomes vacant I would love to fight for it,” added Baker.

“If not, I will just continue doing what I do and a lot of people will be thinking ‘let’s beat the kid that beat Danny’. Beating Danny will do wonders for my career.

“I don’t remember much of the fight or what hand I knocked him down with, I was just on auto-pilot.

“I remember thinking ‘where has Danny gone’ and that maybe he’d stepped around the side of me but then I realised I’d put him down and couldn’t believe it.

“He’s fought Mike Tyson who couldn’t do that and John McDermott also couldn’t put him down.

“My first knockdown was in only 20 seconds. Has anyone ever done that to Danny before?

“Before Prizefighter when I told my friends I was boxing Danny everyone started laughing and when I read off the names of people in Prizefighter, everyone was saying ‘you can’t win so don’t enter it’.

“I walked into work (at an internet company in Sheffield) to a round of applause and it has put me on such a high. All I needed was a bit of self-belief and this has shown people what I can do.”

Article posted on 06.10.2009

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