Frank Maloney: I think this is one of the best heavyweight fights that can be made. I haven’t seen so much excitement around a heavyweight fight since we promoted Lennox Lewis vs. Gary Mason in the 90’s. If you bring the right fighters together and give the public what they want, the fans will come to the fight and the press will turn out, which is great.
Press: Did you think it would have taken you twelve years to win a British title after you turned professional in 2000?
Audley Harrison: Well you know I had a plan, my plan was very radical (Promote & and manage himself). Obviously in an ideal world I would have liked to have fought for the British title beforehand. This wasn’t the case, the British title was tied up with another promoter and so its twelve years on. I have been full circle and I finally get the chance to fight for the British and Commonwealth title in the twilight of my career.
Press: Did your training camp go to plan?
Audley Harrison: Yes definitely. I’m forty years of age, so obviously I cannot do it like I was twenty eight years old again. I have had niggles, but I have pushed through. My last fight before this one I broke down a few times and had to put the fight back, but this time I have really tested myself. I feel as if I have gone full circle and my spirit is renewed for boxing, that’s the bottom line. Some of the fights in the past I have lost, I’ve been fighting the system and I have been out of control myself, the control of my emotions and I haven’t been able to perform. On Saturday night the only person that is going to make me retire is David Price. He is going to have to beat me with his skill because I am turning up and putting on a performance come Saturday night.
Press: Why do you think you’re the man to retire Audley Harrison on Saturday?
David Price: If Audley Harrison wants to retire if I beat him, that’s his choice. I’m completely focusing on my performance on Saturday. I’m delighted to hear that Audley has had a great training camp and he has a renewed spirit. I’d gain no satisfaction what so ever beating up on him like David Haye did. I want him to come and fight and provide value for money for fans and that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to in there with every intention, with all due respect, to put a performance on and knock my opponent out. This is heavyweight boxing and that’s what we want to do and I think it will make for a fantastic fight.
Press: Could you tell us about the sparring you had in preparation for the contest?
Audley Harrison: Sparring went great. What you have to understand is that in 2004 when I left England, I stopped competing. I lost my competitive spirit. I left England with this whole promotional thing breaking down and I lost my will to compete in the ring. That’s what you the fans and press have witnessed over the last eight years – that I’m trying to get that fighting passion back too. So it means that I’m competing in sparring. Against Richel Hersisia was the last time I went in the ring in control of myself, where I said I’m going to show you that I’m a contender for the world title.
I obviously went to town on him. Danny Williams II was about revenge. I haven’t really enjoyed myself in a boxing ring for around eight years. I haven’t really enjoyed myself in a training camp, but I have tried to get myself back.
This camp is the first camp where I have gone back to the Audley that I know from years gone by, where I have said to myself that I need the best sparring partners. The guy I’m fighting, David Price who is unbeaten, who hasn’t put a foot wrong and who tough as an ox. I need to find the best sparring partners I can find to prepare me for this guy, and that is what I have done.
I sparred with Deontay Wilder, who was a 2008 Beijing Olympian with David (Price). He won a bronze medal at heavyweight 26 wins and 26 by KO. The guy punches like a mule and has great hand speed. Malik Scott, a great boxer, great technician and great speed. Also, Joe Hanks who in my eyes, is the next Shannon Briggs.
Even after all that, I brought in another boxer, a Romanian who was also in the Beijing Olympics, another guy that can punch like a mule. So I tested myself, I got beat up in camp, I beat people up in camp.
It was a tough camp and that is how it is supposed to be. I have definitely prepared like a champion, I feel like a champion and come Saturday night I will fight like a champion. It isn’t about the win, losing or drawing, it’s about the process and I know I have paid the price. I can stand on the starting line, look David Price in the eye and know I’m ready for battle regardless of the outcome.
Press: How much did it cost to bring those sparring partners in?
Audley Harrison: They weren’t cheap, put it that way! It wasn’t cheap – but I couldn’t tell you. It was an expensive operation. It was an expensive operation for the David Haye camp, but I couldn’t tick all the boxes in my camp. My confidence comes from my preparation and I think most people’s confidence comes from preparation. When I was younger I had arrogance and a chip on my shoulder. If I wasn’t 100% I thought I could pull it off because I had swagger. I don’t have that now, so the only way I can pull it off is by going to camp and paying the price.
If I want to be a boxer I have to go in there like everyone else and take the hits, take the punishment and go through that, so I can really have belief on the starting line. That’s what I mean when I say I lived a lie for the David Haye fight, where I didn’t have belief. I thought I did, but it was forced confidence. When I came to the starting line, I couldn’t believe, because the preparation wasn’t ideal.
Press: Pricey some people say you have to win in style on Saturday, do you agree with that?
David Price: I want to win in style. Every time I get into the ring I want to win in style because it creates a buzz like the type of buzz that’s around me now, but I will take any win. I just want to win – that’s the important thing. Keeping those belts and moving forward with my career so any type of win I’ll accept, but I would always prefer to win in style.
Press: Trainers how do you predict the fight will go?
Kelvin Travis: it’s not my job to do that. The fight game is about experience, preparation, about your strengths and weaknesses. The coach has a little bit of input, but it can input in big ways, that’s why they are paid ten percent. All I’m going to say is tune to Boxnation. From my point of view, the strength elements and working with the strength coaches, it’s been good stuff.
For any connoisseurs out there and people who know the game, this is the right fight for the country. Audley believes it and I believe it, David Price is the guy in waiting. My history with David is that I helped him when he was seventeen on the young England squad and helped him a little bit before he went the Olympics.
I genuinely wanted him to come back and do the Olympics again because he could of become a gold medallist, you are looking at two potential gold medallists, so it’s really on the line for both these guys.
Franny Smith: I believe David Price will win and he will win in style. Audley talks about going back to being a world class athlete from the Olympics, David Price has been a world class athlete for three years, so he has left no stone unturned. He has been diligent in his preparation and I believe he will do a sensational job on Saturday night.
Frank Maloney: To me this is what boxing is all about; everyone is talking about this fight. Not just in Liverpool, but all over the country. Everyone is talking about this fight. Audley has done a great job in getting ready for this fight and selling the fight. David has done the same and this is what we need, boxing on the back pages and everyone talking about it.
It’s about one fighter’s career can end, one fighters career can go forward and one fighters career can hit a road block. This makes it exciting, two big guys over seventeen stone, anything can happen on October thirteenth.
Tickets still available for Battle of the Olympians: David Price vs Audley Harrison for the British title and Commonwealth title. Chief support will be Jon-Lewis Dickinson vs Shane McPhilbin for the Vacant British title, Kevin Satchell vs Chris Edwards for the British and Commonwealth Flyweight title and a host of young prospects from the Liverpool/ Wirral area.
Call 0844 8000 400 or see http://www.frankmaloney.com/index.php/tickets.html for more details.
The contest will be screened live and exclusive on Boxnation (Sky 437/ Virgin Media 546) and on Wealth TV in the USA (See local listing for details).