By Alexey Sukachev
York Hall, London - Audley "The A-Force" Harrison (31-6, 23 KOs), the 2000 Sydney super heavyweight gold medalist and also one of the bitter busts in British heavyweight boxing history, prolonged what was thought by many to be an agonizing career, with his second victory in the Prizefighter series.
Harrison, 41, walked through American Derric Rossy (28-6, 14 KOs), 32, like there wasn't anybody in the opposite corner. Harrison continuously rocked and cut his foe with hard left hands. One of them put Rossy down hard in the first, and another one did the same damage midst into the second stanza on a delayed reaction. Rossy bravely got up but had no power to continue, and the contest was halted by referee John Keane at 1:25. An unexpected but a very pleasing win for Audley.
One of the most decorated British amateurs and 2012 London Olympics UK Team's captain, Thomas Stalker (1-0), made a successful pro debut, outpointing professional loser Kristian Laight (7-140-6) in a four-rounder. Referee Terry O'Connor's sole score was 40-36 - for Stalker. Laight was stopped just 4 times in his 140 losses.
In tonight's second US vs. UK heavyweight showdown on British soil, Derric Rossy (28-5, 14 KOs) got a slightly dubious split decision over Ian Lewison (7-2-1, 4 KOs) in the second semifinal. Lewison started very aggressively, fought with zeal and outpunched Rossy in the opening stanza. It is to be noted though that the majority of his punches were way off the mark, and his wild swings mostly hit the ropes of the ring. The second round was also slightly in favor of Lewison - if you prefer aggressiveness and activity over precision, and for Rossy - if you vote for the latter. Finally, in the third round Rossy turned back the tide to put Lewison into a little trouble. It wasn't enough to win on the cards of BoxingScene and John Keane (which was 28-29 - for Lewison) but it was enough to become the finalist, as these scorecards were overruled by Ian John-Lewis and Terry O'Connor (29-28 - for Rossy).
Revenge was sweet for Audley "A-Force" Harrison (30-6, 22 KOs), who erased one of his worst career nightmares by avenging his 2008 loss to Belfast cab driver Martin Rogan (16-4, 8 KOs). Four and a half years ago that victory catapulted Rogan's career, while Harrison fell into mediocrity. This win didn't done much for A-Force, but at least 2000 Olympic super heavyweight champion got the chance to continue his swan song in the final of this Prizefighter series.
Harrison, 41, chose not to brawl with Rogan, also 41, but to box with him. The decision was totally right, as the Englishman fought much more delicate than his Irish opponent. Harrison relied on his reflexes and a nice left hand to aid them. He was clearly the smarter of the two and wisely clinched every time Rogan came in close to try to rock him with one of his haymakers. At the end all three judges had it 30-27 - for Harrison. BoxingScene is in agreement.
In an all-American quarterfinal, the fourth in the series, resulted in the only decision of all four already fought contests, as Derric Rossy (27-5, 14 KOs) created a minor upset by cruising past this Prizefighter favorite Travis Walker (39-9, 31 KOs) with a split decision.
Walker showed both his vowing power and questionable chin in the first round, which saw him on the offensive and on the receiving end at the same time. The pace decreased in the next couple of rounds. Walker was an aggressor but he wasn't too effective, whilst Rossy did a lot of clinching and holding but placed several telling punches as well.
At the end, Marcus McDonnell awarded the fight to Travis Walker but he was overruled by both John Keane and Ian John-Lewis, who had it for Rossy. All scores were 29-28. BoxingScene had it 29-29 - a draw.
The streak of fast knockouts continued in the third quarterfinal of the tourney, as a relative rookie Ian Lewison (7-1-1, 4 KOs) got his biggest win ever (to the date) with the first-round stoppage of usually durable German Timo Hoffmann (40-8-2, 23 KOs).
Lewison started confidently and pretty aggressive. Hoffmann, 38, who didn't look particularly bad in his recent outings, was on the defensive and was too slow to kick off. At the end of the second minute of the round, Lewison connected with a hard left-right combo to stagger Hoffmann and sent him down. The German got up and looked ready to continue but referee John Keene considered him unable to continue to the major displeasure of the German's corner. Time was 2:02 of the first round and the stoppage did look too early.
Audley Harrison (29-6, 22 KOs) proved he isn't finished yet - at least, in comparison with his totally shot Danish opponent Claus Bertino (15-5, 8 KOs). It took Harrison only 33 seconds to become the second semifinalist of the tourney after his counter left hook at the ropes shook Bertino up and made him totally defenseless, prompting referee Marcus McDonnell to step in and to wave it off. Next for Harrison is... Martin Rogan - in a rematch!
The beloved Irish heavyweight veteran Martin Rogan (16-3, 8 KOs) earned one of his sweetest and most impressive career victories, stopping former world title challenger Albert Sosnowski (47-6-2, 28 KOs) in the first quarterfinal of the third installment of the International Prizefighter series.
Sosnowski and Rogan hurt each other in the opening seconds of the fight but soon it became obvious that the power of the Irishman is by far superior. Sosnowski was repeatedly rocked in the first round and continued to be fighting on unsteady legs in the second. Midst into the stanza he tried to land a huge punch but was taken away by his own momentum through the ropes and out of the ring in Cintron-like style. He continued to be battered after he came back, and increasingly one-sided beating continued well into the third round. After another combo of Rogan, referee Ian John-Lewis stepped in and stopped shaken Sosnowski on his feet. time was 1:56 of the third.