Harrison rediscovers love for boxing

Audley Harrison insists he is back in love with boxing for the first time in almost a decade as he prepares to face David Price.

Boxing News: Audley Harrison

The pair will square off at Liverpool's Echo Arena on October 13, with hometown hero Price looking to continue his superb transition to the professional ranks since collecting an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing four years ago.

Harrison also famously has Olympic pedigree as a Sydney 2000 gold medalist, but his career as a paid fighter stands at 28 wins and five defeats, having generally lurched from one well-documented calamity to another.

The last time the 40-year-old Londoner stepped through the ropes to top the bill in a north-west arena was in November 2010 for his remarkably meek surrender to then-WBA champion David Haye in Manchester.

Speaking at a press conference in Liverpool to promote "The Battle of the Olympians", Harrison candidly referred to his world title tilt as a "debacle" and claimed a pectoral injury prevented him from completing a single press-up in training camp.

But speaking to Press Association Sport afterwards, the former European champion pointed to a deeper malaise dating back to a fourth-round knockout of then-undefeated Dutchman Richel Hersisia for the lightly-regarded WBF crown, along with promotional turmoil surrounding the breakdown of his television deal with the BBC.

"I got to 18-0 before I fell and obviously since I fell I haven't really been able to get myself back onto the pathway," he explained.

"Richel Hersisia, that was 2004, was the last time I was in love with boxing. I was having a big fight with the BBC, I lost my contract and I fell out of love with boxing.

"I had to sign with (promoter) Frank Warren and, I'm not going to lie, it broke my heart. At that time you saw my professional career capitulate.

"But I can tell you now, Mr Audley Harrison is back in love with boxing. I'm going to enjoy this on October 13."

Harrison returned to the BBC last year as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing and April's comeback win over Ali Adams in Brentwood has brought him to this point - going in as a heavy underdog against a man boasting 11 knockouts in an unblemished 13-fight career on a card to be broadcast by Warren's pay-tv channel, Box Nation.

And yet, despite all the setbacks, Harrison remains focused on an improbably glorious career finale.

"I'm not ready to write my legacy just yet," he added. "My personal journey as a fighter is still incomplete and I want to finish it on my terms.

"Obviously (the aim is) to win a world title. I've blazed a trail, I've fallen, dropped off, never given up. It's a battle of adversity and I'm going to stay on the course until I finish my way."

Understandably, Price does not wish to have a role in any such sunset moment and the 29-year-old bristles with a determination to keep his wholly more realistic world title ambitions on track.

"The general perception of Audley Harrison within the public, unfortunately for him, is not a very good one," he told Press Association Sport.

"If I was to lose then my reputation would potentially be in tatters.

"I've got a lot to lose, so I'm going to be so determined the fight goes my way that there's no other possible outcome.

"There's no bad bloody between us because we've got no past. The only past me and Audley have got is similarities in being Olympians and Commonwealth Games gold medalists.

"So there's mutual respect, but it's strictly business on the night. I'm coming through, destroying everything in my path, and I'm hoping to continue that on October 13."



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