Audley Harrison has vacated his European heavyweight title, opening the door to a showpiece World title fight when he makes his return from injury in October. The 38-year-old had an operation on a pectoral muscle last month to correct the injury that forced him to fight one-handed against Michael Sprott from the fourth round of their European title bout at Alexandra Palace in April. The injury hampered Harrison for the remainder of the fight until he produced a stunning last-gasp knockout victory to land the title he is now surrendering.
Harrison has a number of options available to him for his early winter return, with his promoter Eddie Hearn saying there is potentially Britain’s biggest fight ever against David Haye in the pipeline.
“Everyone wants to fight Audley because they know what he brings to the table,” said Hearn. “He will be installed as the mandatory challenger for the European title but we are also in discussions with the Klitchko’s and Adam Booth and David Haye regarding a world title shot later this year. We are keeping our options open right now but the Haye fight is huge. Audley’s last two appearances in the UK have attracted record viewing figures, so couple that with David Haye’s popularity and this is the biggest fight the UK has ever seen.”
Harrison’s career has been a roller-coaster ride since he turned professional after claiming Olympic gold in 2000. The Londoner has been in the headlines throughout his career, winning the WBF heavyweight title before sparking rivalries with Danny Williams and Sprott. After to moving to America, a chance meeting with Hearn in Las Vegas saw Harrison sign-up for Prizefighter, scooping the title at ExCeL in October – and he says he is ready to grab the headlines again by taking a shot at the world title.
“I’m told by my promoters that both David Haye and the Klitchko’s brothers have expressed an interest in facing me when I return after rehab,” said Harrison. “If it’s either Klitchko brother, the task will be hard, but that’s how I want it. I respect both brothers as they are effective at what they do but both can be beat. As I said before David Haye is a false Prophet, one punch on that chin and it will shatter like glass. If I was him, I’d keep running from the Klitchko’s and keep beating up on shop worn American heavyweights. Whatever the route I will find a way to fulfill my destiny and become Heavyweight Champion of the World.”