31.03.05 – By Curtis McCormick: WBO Featherweight Champion Scott Harrison will defend his crown against former three time world title challenger Michael Brodie as part of a huge weekend of fights taking place in Manchester, England on June 3rd and 4th. Harrison’s promoter, London based Sports Network, made the announcement official two days ago on a teleconference call that both Brodie and Harrison took part in along with the Scotsman’s manager Frank Maloney and Sports Network’s Chief Frank Warren, among others..
The contest will take place on June 3rd at the 22,000 seat MEN Arena the night before the highly anticipated light welterweight showdown between IBF Champion Kostya Tszyu and his mandatory challenger Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. There has been much talk about Harrison participating in lucrative unification matches with the other titlists in the featherweight division, Juan Manuel Marquez and Injin Chi, but the Glasgow native knows that it’s all smoke and mirrors unless he can defeat his closest domestic rival in Michael Brodie.
Scott Harrison goes into this most crucial of bouts fully confident in his ability to assert his will against a solid world class contender and knows full well that this is the most important fight of his career. “Michael Brodie is a fighting man and I expect him to put in a very good showing; it’s going to be a war that the fans will appreciate,” said Harrison. “I’m the stronger, better fighter and I think the only way Brodie can go the distance with me is by running, but that isn’t his style. I do believe when he feels my power, he will change his tactics and may run. If that happens it’ll be a longer night than I expect it to be. At the end of the day it all depends on which Michael Brodie shows up “
Harrison’s veteran manager Frank Maloney sees this bout as the perfect accompaniment to Tszyu – Hatton and he’s not alone. Fans are already clamoring for tickets to the precursor of a fight that sold 22,000 seats in a matter of hours. “The British press are very excited about the prospects of such a big weekend of boxing at Manchester and I think the fans are in for a thrilling couple of days,” remarked Maloney.” Frank Warren has tried to make this fight on a number of occasions but in each instance during the last minute, Michael Brodie’s team changed directions.
“Now the bout has been made possible by the change in Britain’s boxing climate; Sports Network is the only promoter holding a contract with a TV company. Brodie, who was once promoted by Barry Hearn, had to come to the table and agree to take on Scott Harrison. Both fighters are very confidently of their chances and Harrison will revert back to his old training program of going up to Fort William in the north of Scotland where he’s had great success in the past”
Along with Maloney, who incidentally managed Brodie to become the European Super Bantamweight earlier in his career, Frank Warren has guided Harrison’s career to the world stage and sees this domestic super showdown as what the WBO beltholder needs at this point in time. “I promoted Michael Brodie in the past so I know full well that he’s strong and tough but I think Scott Harrison will be a but too much for him in a very competitive fight,” said the promoter. “One of the good things about this is that it’s going to be broadcast by Showtime, which will obviously provide Scott with good exposure in the states. If he comes through okay, then we can start looking into a unification match with one of the other champions.”
Brodie is not the only obstacle that Harrison must overcome however, as the Glaswegian has been in several scrapes with the law recently. A few weeks ago the featherweight was placed on probation for a nightclub incident that required 7 bouncers to remove Harrison from the premises.
As Harrison’s manager, Maloney is understandably concerned with these recent developments but feels that with a difficult fight scheduled, the Scotsman’s focus will be squarely back on boxing. “I have no comment about Scott’s legal situation, but the way he’s going he makes Mike Tyson sound like an angel in comparison,” quipped the manager. “But with the help of Scott’s father and trainer Peter Harrison, I’m focused on getting him both physically and mentally prepared along with securing the correct sparring partners. I’ll be spending some time at his camp up in Fort William and I’m confident that there will be no distractions this time.
“I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past about looking too far in advance and before the Victor Polo fight we were all talking about a big unification fight straight afterward and we probably didn’t give Polo the respect he deserved. Our tactical plans now include not talking about any other fight other than the one that’s right front of us and we will give Brodie the same respect that we would if we were to fight any of the bigger names out there. At this point in Scott’s career, every fight is a defining fight because if you lose it you’ve just defined that you’ve got no tomorrow.
“Peter and I are both focusing on improving Scott by making slight adjustments to his style, which I think will impress both the media and fans in attendance on June 3rd. This is one of the fights that the British public has been calling out to see for a long time now and I think it marks a change where you’ll see more of these types of contests being made. Frank Warren has said that this is only the beginning as over the next couple of weeks he hopes to make announcements about other major fights that the British public have been dreaming about.”
Scott Harrison is on a mission to certify his belief of being the best featherweight in the world but will have to prove first that he can get past one of the toughest contenders in the talent laden division. “I’m looking forward to boxing outside of Glasgow and welcome the change,” stated Harrison. “I usually have the responsibility of selling the show and this time I won’t have the pressure of doing so which I always have to do when I fight in Glasgow. This time I can focus on my training without having to sell the show was well, as when I’m the main draw on the card.
“I expect up to 2,000 Scottish fans to make the journey down to Manchester and I will not disappoint them. Brodie doesn’t have the tools to beat me. I’ve worked hard to become world champion and I’m not going to give that up, particularly to a British fighter as I still believe that my destiny is further down the road. Brodie has fought for the world title three times and I’ve got the utmost respect for him but I have no fear of Michael Brodie and he is in the way of my going forward. Brodie is the second best featherweight in Britain and Europe but I’m the best and I’m also the champion and all I can tell you is this fight isn’t going to go the distance.”
Curtis McCormick, www.scottharrison.net