Prizefighter Heavyweights III champion Audley Harrison is set face David Haye for the WBA World Heavyweight title in Manchester in November 13. Harrison has always claimed it was his destiny to win the World Heavyweight title and in a tense press conference in central London, he warned his former friend Haye that he is in for “the fight of his life” when he defends his title for the second time at the M.E.N Arena.
Haye called the contest the “biggest fight the UK has seen in years” and it marks a return to the venue where he defeated John Ruiz in his first defence in April, but Harrison believes that his epic journey in the sport is ready to peak with a World title victory.
“I’m ecstatic I’m getting a shot at the Heavyweight title and I’m doubly ecstatic that it’s against David Haye – a guy that I groomed when I was 29 and Olympic gold medallist and he was just 19,” said Harrison. “People are saying this is the David Haye show, it’s not – this is the Audley Harrison show, it is part of my journey and I’m knocking out a man who I laid down the red carpet to when he was coming through. This is my time – I’ve been down to the bottom of the pit but now I’m right back at the top and ready to take my chance.”
There is no love lost between the two fighters with Harrison reminding Haye throughout the press conference of the help he gave the Bermondsey boxer when his career was in its infancy, but his fellow London-born challenger told the press that while there will be plenty of trash-talk traded in the build-up to November’s showdown, he will back up his words with everything he has got in Manchester.
“I don’t talk just for the sake of talking – I will be there every second and every minute of every round and he is in for the fight of his life,” said the 38 year-old – now based in Las Vegas. “People were saying I was delusional when I said I would fight David Haye for the World title, and they said it again after I won Prizefighter – but look here today, I am fighting him for the World title and I will win.”
Harrison’s last fight saw him knockout Michael Sprott with a devastating left hook in the last round of their European title fight in April and he identified that shot as the one that he will use to wrestle the belt from Haye, just over one year after the World Champion took it away from Nikolai Valuev in Germany.
“When I land that left on him, it’s done – I don’t think he has a weak chin, I know he has a weak chin and so does everyone else. He hasn’t fought a real Heavyweight with a punch – when I started out the so-called experts were saying I was a “powder-puff puncher”, now all of a sudden they’re saying “Audley’s got a puncher’s chance.” I’ve always been able to punch, I’ve got 20 KO’s in 27 wins but this isn’t just about fighting though, it’s also about game plans and skills. I believe I’m a complete professional but I don’t think David is. He’s a good fighter and puncher but he’s got lots of mistakes.”