Sports Network Statement on Harrison-Skelton

05.08.04 – Promoter Frank Warren has today issued the following statement: “As members of the media are aware I called a press conference for today (5 August) to announce that the fight had been made between British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Matt Skelton and Audley Harrison,”

“This was on an agreed understanding between Harrison’s company A-Force Promotions and Sports Network that should Harrison and I not finalise terms that the press conference would be cancelled,”

“I was flying back from abroad yesterday afternoon and I suggested to Harrison we meet this morning to finalise details because he was unavailable last night due a film premier he had to attend,”

“Had we finalised agreed terms, I wanted the press conference to take place today as next week is the start of the football season and obviously the media would be football mad,”

“Throughout my years involved in boxing, and I have negotiated with everybody including Don King, Bob Arum and significant boxers, I must say the most difficult I have encountered have been with Harrison,”

“I had agreed terms with A-Force Promotions and my lawyers drew up a Memorandum of Understanding leaving a few issues to be resolved,”

“One of the issues was that Harrison insisted on having three judges assigned to the fight instead of a referee,”

“I spoke with the Simon Block, the General Secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, who wasn’t happy about this. He couldn’t understand why this request was being made,”

“I had no objections to the judges, Skelton said we won’t need judges and that he would bring his own two judges to the fight – his fists,”

“If Harrison is to taken seriously in the heavyweight division, then he should take a leaf out of Danny Williams’ book who went into the lion’s den to beat Mike Tyson. Harrison has fallen behind Williams and Skelton who are the leaders of the British heavyweight ranks. If he is serious about being a respected fighter then he should prove to the British public what he is made of which until now has been all hot air and wind,”

“What is revealing to me is that Harrison was not serious about fighting Skelton is that he stated in his press release he has provisional date of November 13 in America for a fight. If he is so keen on taking on Skelton and he said on Monday that he would “take care of Matt Skelton” then why was he arranging another fight whilst we were negotiating?

“I will leave that up to the media and public to decide that one.”