By Alexey Sukachev
2000 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Audley Harrison won the Prizefighter Heavyweights III tournament, but not against British champion Danny Williams. Harrison KO’d longshot Coleman Barrett in the final on Friday night at the ExCeL Arena in London. Williams was shockingly knocked down three times by unheralded Carl Baker and lost a unanimous decision in his opening match.
Harrison (26-4, 19 KOs) of Las Vegas, USA, by way of London, UK, was thought by many to be a spent bullet. Yet he dug deep and proved that notion to be wrong. The left hand was Audley’s secret weapon, which helped him to win a major prize of $52,000 and mount a solid career comeback.
Audley Harrison faced a sensational finalist in short and light Galway’s southpaw Coleman Barrett (10-1, 2 KOs), who was thought to be a definite underdog, the same way Prizefighter cruiserweight champion Ovill McKenzie had also been considered in May, but made a hard and long way into the final over Scott Gammer and Carl Baker.
Barrett started the fight aggressively, proving his tonight’s success was no fluke by any means. He connected much with his awkward left hand over Harrison’s ear and also had him staggered a bit in the midst of the starting stanza.
A-Force turned the battle around in the second, making a soft spot for his long lean left hand. Harrison started to land it in a minute after the round had started. A minute after Prizefighter’s most celebrated fighter delivered another left that put Barrett down. He beat the count but was on too shaky legs to continue, and referee Dave Parris waved the final off at 2:40.
(1): Coleman Barrett – Carl Baker
After a fascinating war against Danny Williams, Carl Baker (9-4, 6 KOs) was considered a favorite against unheralded Irishman Barrett and he proved it in the opening round, dominating Coleman with his sheer activity. However, the heroic Barrett found some inner resources to take the second and the third stanza of an ugly war in the ring. All three judges saw it 29-28 – for Barrett, who advanced into the final.
(2): Audley Harrison – Danny Hughes
Audley Harrison once again taught us that the age really matters in terms of experience and class, as he walked off the first round and presented it to Danny Hughes, only to come back aggressively in rounds two and three. In the second, Hughes was able to counter well but in round three he was floored after a wicked left and barely made it to the final bell. Scores were 29-27, 29-28 and 30-26 – for Audley “A-Force” Harrison.
(1): Carl Baker – Danny Williams
In an all-action war, virtually unknown Brit Carl Baker has seemingly put an end to Danny Williams’ pro career, at least at the highest level. It was easily the best fight in Prizefighter’s history. Baker had Williams (41-8, 34 KOs) down twice in the first and once in the second and Mike Tyson’s penultimate conqueror was all but finished as he was wobbling from pillar to post all around the ring. Miraculously, the one-time WBC title challenger threw all he had tonight in the third and almost stopped rapidly-fatiguing Baker but hasn’t found enough time to finish him. That made him to pay on judges’ scorecards: 29-26, 28-27 and 28-26 – all in favor of Baker.
(2): Audley Harrison – Scott Belshaw
The biggest participant of the tournament Scott Belshaw (10-3, 7 KOs) of Wales also proved to be the softest one. Belshaw marched forward to brawl with Harrison and was down after a straight left in the first (that decked him on delayed basis) and then was stopped in his tracks, immediately after the second round had ended, after another huge left hand.
(3): Neil Perkins – Danny Hughes
It was fast and furious as Danny Hughes, Prizefighter’s youngest contestant this night, delivered a colossal right that had Neil Perkins (4-1, 1 KO) down and out in just 45 seconds of the very first round.
(4): Scott Gammer – Coleman Barrett
Relatively unknown Ireland’s Coleman Barrett scored a workmanlike decision over Scott Gammer of Wales (18-5-1, 9 KOs) with the scores 29-28 on all three scorecards.