By James Slater
Audley Harrison has been written off more than any recent heavyweight contender you could care to mention, yet the 2000 Olympic gold medal winner is, quite astonishingly, one win away from a likely world title shot. If the 41-year-old southpaw can upset 2008 bronze Olympic medallist Deontay Wilder on Saturday’s Amir Khan-Julio Diaz card in Sheffield, his win will almost certainly be rewarded with a top-10 ranking (currently enjoyed by the 27-0, all KOs, Wilder).
And though Harrison, 31-6, 23 KOs, is a considerable betting underdog, he feels he will get the win and then look forward to realising his dream.
“I knew after Prizefighter I was going to get opportunities,” Audley said. “I was so good in that, I created a stir. I said I was looking for someone in the top ten and so I couldn’t ask for anyone better than America’s next big thing.
“He [Wilder] is going to be an interesting puzzle for me to figure out, he brings a lot to the table. I have to find a way to get through that power, he has a big right hand. Beating him would put me back in the top ten, eligible to fight for world titles, which is my dream.”
Naturally, Wilder, the younger man by 14-years, feels he will ruin Harrison’s big plans, at the same time moving on to realise his own.
“I am trying to get to the top and he is trying to fight for a world title, but there can be only one,” Wilder said. “I have worked too hard to get where I am – I think his time has come and gone.”
With an impressive 50 KO’s between them, it would take a brave fan to predict a distance fight on Saturday. And, according to SKY BET, Wilder is the favourite to win at 1/9, while punters can get 5/1 odds on a Harrison victory. A draw can be yours at a whopping 40/1.
Wilder-Harrison is scheduled, perhaps optimistically, for ten-rounds.