Boxing: Harrison faces easy fight before brutal talks

Harrison faces easy fight before brutal talks
By John Rawling

The Guardian, UK
June 19 2004

Audley Harrison is expected to record the 17th win of his undefeated
professional career against Poland’s Tomasz Bonin at the Alexandra
Palace tonight, then resume negotiations with the promoter Frank
Warren over a challenge against the British and Commonwealth champion
Matt Skelton.

Harrison hopes for an equal split in the profits, and has said: “I
want to win the British title. Matt Skelton is a York Hall [Bethnal
Green] fighter, but Audley Harrison brings more to the table than
that. I am asking for 50-50, which I think is fair and reasonable.”

In a letter to Warren, Harrison suggested a joint operation between
his own A-Force promotions and Warren’s Sports Network, but Warren
angrily rejected the offer last night.

“With respect, who the hell does Audley Harrison think he is?” he
said. “He has just been dropped by the BBC and he has no television
deal with Sky or any other company.

“I have the TV contract and Matt Skelton is the champion. Sky have no
interest in signing Harrison so if he wants the fight he can take it
on Matt Skelton’s terms. I am in the business of looking after him,
not Harrison.”

Harrison, 32, has a huge height and reach advantage over Bonin, 26.
The Pole’s record, undefeated in 26 fights, seems impressive, but
closer inspection shows his opponents have been dismal and Harrison
should retain the little-regarded WBF title with few problems.

An altogether more meaningful contest at the Braehead Arena in
Renfrew pits the WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison against his
mandatory challenger, William Abelyan, a US-based Armenian. The size
and strength of Harrison, the Scottish title-holder, could be decisive.

The world light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu has been stripped
of his WBA belt after saying he would fight Sharmba Mitchell for the
IBF belt in November instead of the WBA challenger Vivien Harris.
Harris could now face Britain’s Ricky Hatton with the WBA title
at stake.