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British Boxing
HARRISON STOPS BONIN IN NINE
Audley Harrison v Tomasz BoninLondon, England. 20th June 2004. Audley Harrison retained his WBF heavyweight title last night with an unpopular ninth round stoppage of the previously unbeaten Tomasz Bonin. The Polish challenger surprised many in the opening two rounds, scoring with regularity with both hands despite Harrison's big reach advantage. In the third however, a big left hook over the top of Bonin's guard sent the Pole spiralling to the ropes, Harrison unloaded but Bonin weathered the storm until the bell. In the middle rounds, Harrison worked more with his southpaw jab, but Bonin also saw success with right-hand counters and stung the Olympic champion with a three-punch combination in the seventh. By the ninth Harrison looked to step up a gear scoring clean with two right uppercuts and a left hook which momentarilly buckled the legs of Bonin. A further five punch barrage went unanswered by Bonin, resulting in referee John Keane to step in and wave it off. The decision wasnt received well by the crowd who jeered in frustration as Bonin showed he had plenty of fight left in him, running around the ring before leaping onto a corner post. However, Olympic champion Harrison defended the referee's decision to halt the contest after 29-year-old Bonin had come under severe pressure. "He is a guy who came in at 26 and 0 and he did not want to lose his record," Harrison said. "The referee sees the action. He is the third man in the ring and sees what he sees. He was very definitely hurt and turned away from the referee so, yes, he was definitely right to make the decision." Harrison was ahead on the scorecards of all three judges, leading 78-75 and 77-76 twice at the time of the stoppage. 
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SKELTON RETAINS COMMONWEALTH CROWN
Bethnal Green, England. 6th June 2004. It wasnt pretty but Matt Skelton extended his record to 14-0 after pounding Australian Bob Mirovic into submission at end of the fourth round of their Commonwealth heavyweight title fight at York Hall, Bethnal Green, last night. Mirovic, the former Australian champion had been down twice but was still making a decent argument of it when he quit at the end of the fourth. In his corner trainer Angelo Hyder urged Mirovic to continue but the 39-year-old Australian champ was having none of it. Mirovic certainly had his moments and looked to shake the British champ on a couple of occasions. It was Skelton however, who put the pressure on in the fourth round and by the end of the round Mirovic looked spent. Skelton was making the first defence of the Commonwealth crown which he captured just seven weeks earlier with a 12th-round stoppage of Michael Sprott at Reading. On that occasion, Skelton had also seized the British title as well. Now ranked No 3 in Europe, the Bedford fighter is hungrily eyeing the European title held by Luan Krasniqi.
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SKELTON LIFTS BRITISH TITLE
Reading, 24th April 2004. Matt Skelton became British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion by stopping Michael Sprott in the 12th and final round in Reading on Saturday. Skelton captured the belt after converting to boxing from K-1 martial arts just 19 months ago. It has been a rapid rise for Skelton, who says he is 35 but may be 37, and he tore into Sprott from the opening bell. The 28-year-old Sprott had no answer for Skelton's direct approach and has now lost seven times in 32 fights. Skelton, from Bedford, paid tribute to the "unbelievable support" he had from his fans and said he was overwhelmed at clinching the British title. "I wanted it badly and I have to pinch myself that I've got it," he said. Skelton felt his aggressive approach to the fight had been the right one. "I knew Michael Sprott had a lot more experience than me and I sat down with my team and discussed how to approach it," he said. "I knew I'd have to bully the fight and that's what I've done." Going into the final round, both fighters appeared to realise they might need a big last session and it was Skelton who summoned up the reserves for one big attack. After just 56 seconds of the round, he knocked Sprott to the floor and when the champion clambered to his feet at the count of nine referee Richie Davies ruled it was all over. Skeltonis now looking to challenge Luan Krasniqi the current European champ. Skelton said: "Experience is one thing I am not going to get. I am not hanging around and I'm not ducking anyone." 
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HARRISON LIFTS WBF CROWN
London, England. 21st March 2004. Audley Harrison claimed the WBF world heavyweight title last night with a fourth-round knockout over Richel "The Dutch Sonny Liston" Hersisia at the Wembley Arena. Hersisia had his moments in the first two rounds, stalking the tall Brit and landing with right hooks, but by the third Harrison's commanding jab opened a cut over the Dutchman's left eye. Harrison rose a gear from then on and unleashed a series of combinations to the defending champion. A further right-left combo in the fourth and an uppercut under the Dutchman's guard dropped Hersisia for the count with a minute remaining in the round. It was Hersisia's first loss in 22 fights. "I am moving into the Premiership and I believe I can reach the top." said Harrison, who is now 15-0(11) as a pro. Lennox Lewis the recently retired former champion was at ringside and optimistic about Harrison's future. "The combinations he threw to take this guy were unbelievable." said Lewis. "I thought he did great. He worked it out for the first couple of rounds and once he did that he took this guy out and that is what we want to see," he added. Harrison, who won gold in the Sydney Olympics indicated a return to a British ring in the coming months. (PHOTO: MR WILL
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HARRISON STOPS NIX IN THREE
Laughlin, NV (December 12, 2003) – Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison drove his record to 14-0 (10 KOs) with an emphatic victory over Brian Nix in his first 10-round bout in Laughlin, Nevada tonight, in the main event on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. Harrison displayed a strong right jab and kept Nix at a safe distance, while staying undefeated. The 2000 Olympic Super Heavyweight champion landed three left uppercuts to put the tough veteran on the canvas at 1:41 in third round of the bout. Harrison, who displayed a stiff right jab as a left handed heavyweight, became the main event of the evening, after Tokumbo Olajide fell out when he came ill.  Harrison was interviewed live on the show immediately following his fight and had this to say about his performance.  “In the first two rounds I was trying to use my jab and working on keeping him at range,” said Harrison.  “In the third round I wanted to show something different and use the other things I have been working to put him away.” Harrison added.  “I was being a bit merciful in the first two rounds but took advantage of my full arsenal early in the third round to demonstrate my dominance.” Harrison will go home to his native England before returning to the United States in early 2004 to continue his assault on the heavyweight division. “Back in the UK, there are a few domestic rivals that have been calling me, such as Danny Williams,” said Harrison.  “Politics aside, I would like to contest for the British title next year, as well as keep busy in America with the other up and coming heavyweight contenders.  “As a professional you haven’t seen the best of Audley Harrison yet.  I am on course, still learning and getting better in the professional game with each fight.  As everyone can see, I have the talent, continue to make a statement and truly believe that I will be the heavyweight champion of the world within the next two years.” (KELLY SWANSON) 
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SKELTON GATHERS MOMENTUM
Edinburgh, Scotland. 26th October 2003. Bedford Heavyweight Matt Skelton threw his hat into the British championship mix with a notable three round destruction job of Serbian, Ratko Draskovic last night in Edinburgh. Skelton, managed by Eugene Maloney and Frank Warren was having his seventh fight this year and came out strong in the first round delivering strong jabs and looping right hands over the top to his opponent. It wasnt until the second however when Skelton had the Serbian wobbling from chopping right hands. A series of hooks to the body an an uppercut to the head dropped Draskovic on the bell at the end of the second and more punishment and another knockdown in the third prompted the referee to jump in and wave the bout off midway through the round. Draskovic, who had in the past extended a number of good names namely Audley Harrison and Sinan Samil Sam was delivered his first stoppage loss of his thirteen year career. I wasnt trying to prove a point" said Skelton, on asked how the stoppage compared with Audley Harrison distance victory over Draskovic. "If the knockout would come, it would come" he added. Frank Maloney indicated that the ideal match would be against Audley Harrison but expressed doubt as to whether Harrison would return from the US and take such a fight. 
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SPROTT STOPS UNBEATEN KENNA
Bethnal Green, England. 2nd August 2003. Reading's Michael Sprott lined himself up with another crack at British champ Danny Williams at the weekend with an impressive showing against the previously unbeaten Colin Kenna. How Kenna, who is from Dublin, Ireland was eligible for the southern area title shot on the night is a mystery, but the difference in quality was clearly evident the moment Sprott landed his first meaningful shot. A follow up left hand bomb from Sprott dropped Kenna who was soon after waved off after just 1:28 of the opening round. The win means Sprott rises to 23-5(13) and will meet Brixton’s Keith Long in a British heavyweight title final eliminator on September 26. Sprott had failed in his last British title stint in February 2002, when after a promising start was stopped by Danny Williams in seven rounds. Since then he amassed a winning streak of eight successes, with six by knockout. On the undercard at Bethnal Hall, Mark Krence outboxed journeyman Derek McCafferty over four rounds to rise to 17-1. Krence's only loss came at the hands of Olympic champion Audely Harrison in May 2002. (PHOTO: MR WILL)
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A-FORCE RETURNS TO SYDNEY
London, England. 3rd June 2003. Audley Harrison’s Business Manager, Hazel Bruno-Gilbert today announced that the Olympic Gold Medallist’s next fight will be in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday 6th August. Harrison’s eight round contest, against an opponent to be announced shortly, will be the chief support bout to the highly anticipated Anthony Mundine vs. Antwan Echols WBA Super Middleweight Title fight, and will be shown on tape delay on the BBC. Bruno-Gilbert commented, “Audley was victorious in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, when he bought home Britain’s first gold medal in boxing for 32 years.  He’s excited that he’s got the opportunity to return down under and showcase his talents as an 11-0 undefeated professional”. Tony Mundine the show’s promoter said, “It’s the first time that Australia will have a future Heavyweight Champion fighting on a great undercard.  To have him as chief support is an honour and a privilege and can only be extremely beneficial for this ground breaking promotion”. Harrison will be heading over to Big Bear, California shortly to begin his intensive training under the watchful eye of Thell Torrence.  He will head to Sydney 10 days before the bout.
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WILLIAMS RETAINS COMMONWEALTH CROWN
Brentford, England. 27th April 2003. Danny Williams returned to winning ways last night with a four round stoppage of Australian challenger, Bob Mirovic. British and Commonwealth champion Williams, coming off a loss to European heavyweight champion Sinan Samil Sam in Germany in February, retained his Commonwealth title after 20 unanswered punches to Mirovic forced referee John Keane to jump in and rescue the huge Aussie. Williams, who had shed 13 pounds since the Sam setback to weigh in at 17 stone 7 pounds conceded 19 pounds to his opponent but, after struggling in the opening stages, he turned that to his advantage. Mirovic had bulldozed him around the ring, clubbing him with punches from both hands. In the third round, a Mirovic left hook caught Williams on the chin, causing the Brits legs to momentarily wobble and forced him to hold on. But, he responded by coming out behind his jab in round four to impose his undoubted superior ability on the contest. Williams was not altogether satisfied with his own performance. "I was struggling to get my shots off but I turned it round to find the finish. "Mentally I don't think I had a problem with it after the last fight. He was a tough opponent and he caught me with a few big lefts. He shook me with some very good shots," said Williams who has his sights set on a rematch with Samil Sam.
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BRUNO "MUST EARN" HARRISON BOUT
London, England. 14th April 2003. Frank Bruno has been told he has to earn the right to face Audley Harrison by proving he is a worthy challenger. Bruno wants a £10million comeback bout against Harrison at Upton Park. But Harrison's manager Colin McMillan believes Bruno will need warm-up fights before facing his man. "It is definitely a fight that would generate an awful lot of interest," said McMillan. "But first of all Bruno would have to have a couple of warm-up bouts to prove he is capable of fighting again at a high level. "Bruno is talking about a one-off but I don't think he would be able to walk straight back into a fight against someone of Audley's calibre. "George Foreman made his comeback at the same age as Frank but didn't go back in right at the top. "Instead he fought a string of guys before winning the world title again some three years later." McMillan believes Bruno's health may be a stumbling block, and said: "Don't forget, the reason Bruno retired after losing to Mike Tyson was because he had a detached retina. "That must also be proved to be cleared up - it's not a sensible move to come back and jeopardise your health."
HARRISON DECISIONS DRASKOVIC TO GO 10-0
London, England. 30th March 2003. Audley Harrison notched up his tenth professional victory last night with a points victory over Ratko Draskovic at the Wembley Conference Centre. The Olympic gold medalist took an 80-73 points verdict from referee Paul Thomas after going eight rounds for the first time against the Balkan heavyweight champion. Draskovic was down breifly in the sixth round when, after being cought by a Harrison counter but rose to his feet to take the standing eight count. The Serbian weathered barrages in the closing two rounds as Harrison upped a gear, seeking a stoppage in the closing stages. The performance marked a clear improvement in Harrison's jab and workrate though pundits called for a jump in opposition to allow the boxing world to really assess the Olympian's credibility. "I've had all the criticism, taken it and I am on track to achieve what I want to achieve," said Harrison. "The guy has never been stopped and I felt good in there. Mention any of the best heavyweight prospects in the world and I have got to be up there with them. "I thought this was my hardest fight to date, but I caught him with some good shots, especially in the third and then in the sixth round. "He was just one of those guys you can keep hitting and he will stay there for ever. He was very durable." A noteable step up will happen in Audley's next fight when he meets fellow British contender Matthew Ellis. The Blackpool man enjoyed a undercard victory over Derek McCafferty and is a former ABA champion. 
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