by James Slater – Though he knows he has a tough time ahead of him in convincing the fans he can do it, Audley Harrison still believes he can become heavyweight world champion. Refusing to let the negativity of others get to him, “A-Force,” now 37 years of age, is sure good things will happen for him as long as he continues to train hard and fight..
Next up for the former Olympian is unbeaten Irishman Martin Rogan – a fighter who sprang to prominence in the UK by winning the heavyweight “Prize Fighter” tournament earlier this year. Southpaw Harrison says he faces a tough night against the determined 37-year-old, but that a win will lead him to bigger and better things. Indeed, Harrison says that after he wins on December 6th, fights with the likes of David Haye and Matt Skelton will be within range.
“A-Force” began by speaking about his last fight, against former cruiserweight George Arias, a bout he won on points but was booed by the fans in doing so.
“I was crucified for the last fight, but there were far more positives from that performance than negatives,” Harrison said. “I was fighting a guy who was experienced and in great shape. I hit him with some great shots and he stayed up. But it was just a horrible clash of styles. But I feel great now because I’ve had two full training camps. This fight [Vs. Rogan] is probably going to be my best since Richel Hersisia in terms of all my skills being back.
“I’m hungry to achieve all of my goals before I walk away. Other peoples’ negativity isn’t going to get to me. My philosophy, my beliefs and my determination haven’t wavered. I still believe that I’m going to be heavyweight champion of the world before I walk away from the sport.”
Harrison is nothing if not perseverant. However, defeat on Saturday night would all but end his career, as he is only too aware.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” Audley said about his upcoming bout. “He’s [Rogan] got an unbeaten record, from good Irish stock, and he’s going to cause me some problems. But I’m ready for this and I’ve faced rough, tough guys before. There’s not been one rough, tough guy who tried to rough me up and has gotten away with it. They’ve been sent packing. I’m used to that kind of guy. I expect him to bring heat and take the fight to me. But my skills, ability determination and application will prove too much for him on the night.”
A confident Harrison then spoke about what he hopes will happen for him after he wins on December 6th.
“Everyone gets their time to shine, and David’s [Haye] time is now,” Audley said of the man he hopes to one day fight. “He’s exciting, explosive and you have to take your hat off to him for the way he came back from the Carl Thompson loss. Now he’s put himself in a position where he’s a genuine threat to the Klitschkos. I don’t think he’ll fight both of them, though, and I honestly believe that by this time next year I’ll be back on track and in a position to challenge.
“I’ve got to get past Rogan first, but Matt Skelton’s fighting Paolo Vidoz for the European crown on December 19th and a win over either of them would put me into the WBC top-ten. After this fight on Saturday I expect to be in the top-15 in the WBO. So, while I know that at the moment I’m well behind, like a good, old racehorse, I’ll catch up again.”
But is Harrison too old to catch up and get his career where he wants to put it? We’ll know a bit more after the Rogan fight.