Audley Harrison Scores Sensational Last-Round KO Over Michael Sprott, Wins European Heavyweight Title!

boxingby James Slater - Tonight in London, former Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison scored an astonishing, come-from-behind, one-punch, last-round KO over Michael Sprott to sensationally claim the vacant European heavyweight crown.

Behind on points on all three cards of the scoring officials going into the 12-th-round, Harrison, under pressure from a swarming Sprott at the time, uncorked a massive left hand to the head, sending the 35-year-old down and out. For a few alarming seconds there was concern for Sprott's well-being, and oxygen was administered. Thankfully, the tough old campaigner was okay.

The official time of the ending came at one-minute and 5-seconds of the last round, and 38-year-old Harrison improved to 27-4(20) in winning the biggest fight of his now nine-year pro career. Sprott, who must have thought he had the fight in the bag, is now 32-15(17).

Harrison, as has been the case many times in the past, blew very much hot and cold tonight. He came out looking good in the opener, keeping Sprott on the outside with his nice right hand jab. But then, at other times, "A-Force" looked uncomfortable, tired and disorganised. Hurt by a right hand in the 2nd, southpaw Harrison had to hold and then back-pedal..

Sprott lost the 3rd-round, but he won (on my card at least) the next four rounds. Simply wanting it more and doing more work as a result, Sprott looked dangerous with his right hand and he even out-jabbed the taller man at times. The action was good to watch, even though the big crowd did boo at times (mostly booing at Harrison; always a love to hate figure).

Harrison began switching stance in the 5th-round, and he continued to box out of the southpaw and orthodox position until the dramatic ending of the fight. Later, whilst being interviewed, the 38-year-old explained how he'd pulled his right shoulder in the 2nd-round, and had to fight orthodox for large portions of the action as a result.

At times, looking classy as he did it, Harrison teed off with a series of crisp left hands. On other occasions, however, it was the same old Audley. Looking as though he was anything but a cool, calm and collected figure in there, the 2000 Olympian was simply being out-fought. Harrison did manage to get some momentum going back his way in the 8th and 9th-rounds, winning both sessions. But Sprott was still ahead and he looked more hungry, more determined and more focused.

The 10th and 11th-rounds belonged to the younger man, and Sprott came out looking to close the show in the 12th. Coming out fast, letting both hands go as Harrison covered up on the ropes, Sprott was instead taken out himself by that wicked left hand. As amazing as it may seem considering how ordinary he looked throughout long periods of tonight's fight, Harrison may have scored one of the KO's of the year - at least inside a British ring.

No, the critics will not be convinced Harrison can now, at last, go on to show his full potential and win a world title; but no-one can fault the way he saved the fight with that incredible, out-of-the-blue finish!

Audley, who has had his knockers (and still will have) deserves even more credit for winning despite hurting his shoulder so early in the bout as he explained. For the record, Harrison avenged his February 2007, 3rd-round KO loss to Sprott tonight.

Article posted on 10.04.2010

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