By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID PRICE insists Audley Harrison is not a soft opponent.
And the Scouser claims he could be just three fights off a crack at Wladimir “Doctor Steelhammer” Klitschko.
Unbeaten British heavyweight champion Price makes the first defence of his belt against Harrison, 40, who was slammed for his third round KO loss to David Haye two years ago.
Price, 29, says Harrison is the best domestic challenger available for him to face in his home city of Liverpool on Saturday, as Tyson Fury gave up the title rather than fight him.
It is a clash between two British Olympic medallists in the super heavyweight division.
But Harrison has been criticized for not delivering on his many promises since striking gold at Sydney 2000.
Price, who got a bronze at Beijing four years ago, says Harrison is still dangerous and is the right opponent as he edges closer to world No.1 Klitschko.
He said: “I’m expecting him to come out firing because he has to make a fight of it to enhance his reputation.
“He’s dangerous and now that he hasn’t got pressure on him it might make him produce something and he might perform.
“I’d ask people who question whether I should be fighting Audley – who else should I be defending my titles against at this moment?
“There’s Matt Skelton and you could say the same thing about his age as Audley. There is no one else because Tyson Fury won’t fight me. It would have to be the right package to fight Wladimir Klitschko next year.
“The path we are going down is to become a mandatory challenger for the WBC or any of the other titles.
“But I can’t say I would turn a world title fight down if I was offered it because it really would be tempting.
“Come May I’ll have had another three fights, and I’d probably end up saying, ‘Yeah, what’s to lose?’
“So there’s a possibility it could happen. Vitali Klitschko will probably have retired by then and the WBC title might be vacant.”
Harrison stopped drugs cheat Ali Adams in four rounds in May to end an 18-month ring exile.
During his time away from boxing Harrison went on Strictly Come Dancing but insists he is still serious about his fight career.
He said: “After I tore my pectoral muscle against Michael Sprott they told me I needed 12 months out or it may never heal again.
“But I then got offered the world title shot against David Haye. I kept breaking down in training but I went through with it. After that I took a year off to let it heal.
“My whole career cannot be defined by the Haye fight.
“If I go in there one hundred per cent and the guy beats me hands down, I will happily walk away from boxing. If David Price beats me there is no where else for me to go.”