• Heavyweight

'Stubborn' Harrison still wants world title

ESPN staff
April 24, 2013
Audley Harrison earned himself a shot at Deontay Wilder by winning Prizefighter © Getty Images

Audley Harrison believes a shock win against Deontay Wilder should put him back in the frame for a world heavyweight title fight at the age of 41.

And the former Olympic super-heavyweight champion insists that nothing will stand in his way - not even the fact that he likes his opponent.

Harrison contemplated retirement after being knocked out in 82 seconds by David Price in October, earned himself a shot at the unbeaten American by winning Prizefighter.

And Harrison is adamant victory over Wilder - who has 27 wins to his name, all by knockout - ought to propel him back into title contention.

"I am very stubborn and my goal is to become a world champion and I haven't achieved that yet," Harrison told the Daily Star. "I am still serious about my career and want to achieve my goal. So there is no better way right now than by defeating Deontay Wilder.

"If he beats me he is going to get a world title shot so, if I beat him, I am right back at the door again because he is a top-10 fighter."

Harrison has lost six of his 37 professional fights and knows he is short on chances to reach the top, but is convinced he is capable of providing an upset on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Julio Diaz clash in Sheffield on Saturday night.

"If I beat him it will be a big shock around the world because everyone is thinking that he will blow me out," Harrison added. "I am still improving. I am 41 and feel pretty much as though I am the complete fighter.

"I could have gone down an easier route. Deontay Wilder is a top-10 fighter and I would have preferred any one of the others.

"I have had him in my camp before. I actually like him and it will be a shame for me to have to topple him in order to get to my destination. But it is nothing personal - this is a business we are in and you have to fight each other."

After tame defeats in his two most high-profile fights to date, against Price and David Haye back in 2010, Harrison is determined to prove himself against Wilder, a man 14 years his junior.

"We are going to meet and it is going to be one hell of a fight" Harrison said. "He has won all of his 27 fights and doesn't know how to lose.

"He has blown all of his opponents out and I know how tough it is going to be but I am at my best right now. As people saw with Prizefighter my sharpness is back.

"I am now actually sharper than I was for Prizefighter. My journey in boxing is about continuous improvement."

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