Boxing

Audley Harrison vs Michael Sprott: War Of Words Continues

Harrison vs sprottBy Michael Emons - MICHAEL Sprott has accused Audley Harrison of ‘lacking heart’ ahead of Friday’s clash for the vacant European Heavyweight Championship. Olympic gold medalist Harrison responded by saying it would be ‘miraculous’ if Sprott beat him for a second time at London’s Alexandra Palace.

The pair fought before in February 2007 with Sprott winning with a third round knockout.

“I’m confident I’m going to win again,” said Sprott, who has sparred with WBC Champion Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir, the IBF, WBO and IBO Champion title holder.

“Audley is not a pushover and he has got skill and proved himself by winning the Olympic gold medal in 2000.

“But he lacks a bit of heart and we will see if he has got the heart to beat me on Friday.

“I’ve been training for four weeks in the Klitschko camp and they are two supreme athletes..

“I’ve learnt a lot from them, they are two great punchers and Audley cannot punch anything like the Klitschkos can.”

However, an angry Harrison insisted he would gain revenge over Sprott and claimed he was two fights away from fighting for a world title.

“I’m on a different level to Michael Sprott,” said Harrison at today’s press conference at the Hendon Hall Hotel.

“Who was the first guy to teach (WBC Super-Middleweight Champion) Carl Froch about mental toughness? Me. Adversity is my friend and my heart is as big as anyone’s out there. Lightning will not strike twice.

“I’m focused, hungry, dedicated and on Friday I’m putting everything on the line – I have to win.

“Michael needs to miraculously find a way to win, but that will not happen. Losing is not an option for me. Trust me. Whatever it takes, I’m getting my hand raised.

“When I left England I was 17-0 and Ring Magazine, the bible of boxing, had me as the future of heavyweight boxing.

“I’m a late bloomer. I started boxing at 19 and won an Olympic gold medal at 29.

“All the talk was about David Haye when we were amateurs but I came in to the Olympics and stole the glory from him.

“David is the star at the moment and he did what he had to do on Saturday against John Ruiz.

“It’s great for British boxing and long may it continue but I’m sure the Klitschkos saw things in Haye that they can exploit.

“I’m two fights away from the Klitschkos. Alexander Dimitrenko is the number one in the rankings so I’ll beat him and I’m confident of getting to the Klitschkos before Haye does.”

Tickets for the Harrison v Sprott clash on April 9 cost £30 and £60 and are available from www.seetickets.com or 0871 230 7148.


Audley: I won't be happy until I'm a world champion

Michael Emons AUDLEY Harrison believes he has underachieved as a professional boxer – even if he wins the European belt next week. Harrison turned professional in 2000 after winning a gold medal at the Sydney Olympics and instantly set his sights on claiming a world heavyweight title. He fights fellow Briton Michael Sprott for the vacant European Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace on Friday, April 9 in a make-or-break night in his career.

A defeat would lead to Harrison retiring, while victory would keep his world championship aspirations alive.

“In 2000 I was the talk of the town but I slipped from a mountain top,” said 38-year-old Harrison.

“Now I’m climbing back up and in 2010 I will take my position as the man at the top of the heavyweight division.

“In 2004, when I was 17-0, Ring Magazine had me as the future of heavyweight boxing but I went off track.

“Now I’m back on track and before I retire I will get justice and be World Heavyweight Champion.

“When I was 19 I had no qualifications and was locked up in a young person’s institution.

“When I came out I went to college to get some qualifications as I had nothing. Within ten years I got a degree, won an Olympic gold medal and started my own company, A-Force Promotions

“But I’m not happy with my career as my goal is to be world champion and I won’t be satisfied until my career goal is achieved. I will win a world championship before I retire.

“The winner of this fight gets a guaranteed top ten ranking in the WBC rankings so I’m really excited.

“I’m mentally, physically and spiritually ready and it’s my time to be back on top.

“I’ve got the talent and everything that’s needed to be a World Heavyweight Champion. I’m training really hard and I’m looking so good in the gym it’s scary. It’s been a long road but I feel I’m back at my best.”

Harrison lost to Sprott with a third round knockout back in February 2007 when the English title was on the line.

However, Harrison is confident of claiming a victory this time around.

“Now god has given me the chance to rectify my loss against Michael Sprott,” added Harrison. “I knocked him down in the first round but made a terrible error and fair play to Michael he capitalised.

“Having this opportunity to fight for the European title and fight Michael Sprott is a blessing.

“The result is going to be Audley Harrison – victory. It could be a knockout but that depends on how brave Michael Sprott is. But he will be taking a lot of punishment and whatever he brings I’ll have an answer and be ready for it.”

Tickets for the Harrison v Sprott clash on April 9 cost £30 and £60 and are available from www.seetickets.com or 0871 230 7148.


Sprott Taunts Audley

MICHAEL Sprott has taunted Audley Harrison and insisted: “I’ll knock you out quicker than I did before.” Sprott fights Harrison for the vacant European Heavyweight Championship on April 9 at London’s Alexandra Palace. The pair fought three years ago with Sprott winning with a third round knockout and he thinks that loss will still be playing on Harrison’s mind. “I think in the back of his mind he could have flashbacks of what happened before,” said Sprott.

“I don’t know if he’s scared and he’s accepted the fight but you will see fireworks from round one

“I thought I boxed well before but not as well as I could do.

“I’m very confident that what happened last time is going to happen again – only this time I’ll knock him out quicker. I definitely think it won’t be a different fight.

“It’s an opportunity not just for him but also for me and has come at the right time as he’s 38 but I’m only 35.

“I’m not saying Harrison is on his way down but I’m 35 and have more years left but he’s 38 and when you get to a certain age there’s nothing you can do to improve.

“Training’s been going ok. He’s confident as well but I believe I’m going to beat him so that makes for a very interesting fight.”

Former Olympic Games gold medalist Harrison had been scheduled to fight Albert Sosnowski for the title before the Pole got offered a contest with WBC Champion Vitali Klitschko.

That led to ex-British and Commonwealth title holder Sprott stepping in and Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn believes the winner could follow in Sosnowski’s footsteps.

“Every fight fan dreams to see fights like this made where both fighters have committed themselves to winning the European title,” said Hearn.

“It’s a 50-50 even-money clash and Sky Sports are delighted to be televising it live.

“Audley believes he can go on and win a world title but Michael has already KOd Audley and feels he can do it again.

“Michael has bounced back from a few defeats with a sensational first round knockout in Germany recently and both men are aware winning this is a fast track to a world title shot"

“This is about repeat or revenge but both are totally confident in their ability to win by KO. I expect the winner of this fight to be fighting for the World Heavyweight Championship by the end of the year.”

Tickets for the Harrison v Sprott clash for the vacant European Championship cost £30 and £60 and are available from www.seetickets.com or 0871 230 7148.

Article posted on 06.04.2010



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