Thanks For The Memories: Audley Harrison Retires

By Terence Dooley

Since the late-1990s I have lived under a delusion, the belief that Audley "A-Force" Harrison would become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.  

At one point, around the time of his 2000 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal win, this belief seemed reasonable and attainable.  By March 2004 it seemed a nailed on inevitability, Harrison had just produced a fourth-round KO win over Richel Hersisia AKA "The Dutch Sonny Liston", would appear on the front of The Ring — as one of their heavyweight hopes alongside Dominic Guinn, who's own career never took quite off but who still managed to out-point Harrison in their May 2006 "unrealised potential" crossroads fight — and had the patronage of Lennox Lewis.  

What could possibility go wrong? 

In short, almost everything.  

Earlier today, Harrison retired aged 41 with a 31-7 (23) record after suffering a first-round stoppage against Deontay Wilder at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night.  It was his second single round loss in the space of six-months — David Price knocked him out in one during a British and Commonwealth heavyweight title defence in October.  

Only a few years after the Hersisia win, Harrison's big money BBC deal was dead in the water, as was the network's long-term involvement in boxing, which Audley was blamed for despite viewing figures that were relatively healthy at the start — he brought in a 5.4 million peak in his pro debut, although the figure dipped to 1.5 million by the time the network aired his win over Wade Lewis in October 2002 — and Harrison had lost back-to-back fights against Danny Williams and Guinn, on ITV and U.S. TV respectively.  His career was in tatters and the bright spots, such as his revenge third-round TKO win over Williams in December 2006 were quickly followed by disaster, Harrison was knocked out by Michael Sprott in the third-round of his next fight.

Even the good news, such as the 8 million viewers for the first Williams fight, ITV's biggest sporting audience of 2005 outside Liverpool's Champions League final win over AC Milan, was mixed with bad, Harrison-Williams 1 was a poor fight until the final three rounds and was a poor, high-profile advert for the sport.

Still, Audley dusted himself down after every loss, went back to what must be the biggest drawing board in the world and always came back, even if it was only to help himself to a few Prizefighter crowns — he won the tournament in 2009 as well as winning it earlier this year.  Throw in an EBU title win, gaining revenge over Sprott with an amazing, and improbable final round KO in April 2010, the WBF belt, he picked that one up when he hammered Hersisia, and a world title challenge, a third-round TKO loss to then-WBA titlist David Haye in November 2010, and you have a storied, at times chaotic and always compelling career, if not the one he visualised when belatedly making his pro bow with that single stanza icing of Mike Middleton in May 2001.

Harrison has now joined the ranks of former fighters.  His career has been a mixed bag, but he brought a lot of attention to boxing, in particular amateur boxing, and successive amateur squads have benefited from his Olympic Games victory by virtue of greater funding and attention.  His pro career may never have hit the same heights, but he found boxing late in life, turned his back on juvenile delinquency and, despite it all, thrilled his devoted followers, this writer included, by throwing us the odd glory night.  He didn't deserve the blame for the BBC's decision to turn their back on boxing, nor did he deserve to be booed when on the canvas against Michael Sprott in their first meeting, what he does deserve is a nod of acknowledgement and our best wishes as he heads into retirement.  The Big Aud' bandwagon has come to a shuddering halt, and it was probably the right time for it to do so.  We wish him well.

Original retirement statement from Audley Harrison can be found on  HIS WEBSITE .
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by prinzemanspopa on 05-02-2013

I like Audley, but this picture never fails to make me laugh: [IMG][/IMG]

Comment by CaneloFan on 05-02-2013

He still won a gold medal which is a remarkable achievement. Couldn't cut it as a pro but to win an olympic Gold medal is something to be very proud of.

Comment by billeau2 on 05-02-2013

Im jumping off a bridge....fuz but they only have land bridges here...viaducts, I am taking all my sleeping pills....don't have any sleeping pills, I am going to turn the car on and some peaceful music...****zer! the apartment has an open…

Comment by richardt on 05-02-2013

[QUOTE=prinzemanspopa;13316348]I'll never forget the night A-force put on one of the finest performances in the history of heavyweight boxing to completely and utterly destroy Danny Williams. Dazzling speed, pin-point accuracy and truly devastating power.[/QUOTE]Rolling on the floor laughing with that…

Comment by prinzemanspopa on 05-02-2013

I'll never forget the night A-force put on one of the finest performances in the history of heavyweight boxing to completely and utterly destroy Danny Williams. Dazzling speed, pin-point accuracy and truly devastating power. It's hard to envision anybody being…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (30)
Top Headlines Shane Mosley: I'm Semi-Retired - But For Right Opponent I'll Fight! For Better or Worse, Heavyweight Glory Still Runs Through Klitschko Golovkin's Coach: Mayweather Deserves Catch-Weight, NOT Canelo! Frank Warren: Klitschko Does NOT Deserve Shot at WBA Title! What To Do With Tyson Fury? - BoxingScene Ratings Update Arum Explains Manny Pacquiao's Lack of Knockouts Since 2009 McGuigan: Frampton Will Make an Impact in Vegas With Santa Cruz Golovkin Warns Saunders: I Want Your Belt, That is My Goal! Joe Hanks, Denis Douglin Return To Action on November 5 Manny Pacquiao Gets in One Last Workout Before Leaving To LA Hearn: I 100% Want Anthony Joshua vs. David Haye in 2017 Parker vs. Ruiz: Duco Looking For Goverment Funding For Event Jean Pascal Not Yet Ready For Ring Return, Says Trainer Photo: Victor Terrazas, Eduardo Hernandez on Weight For War Vargas: It's My Time, After I Beat Pacquiao - A Star Will Be Born! Erislandy Lara Still Has a Target on The Back of Gennady Golovkin Photos: Luis Nery, Richie Mepranum Set For War in Tijuana Joselito Velasquez, Mexican Olympian, To Be Trained By Robles Wladimir Klitschko, Lucas Browne Far Apart On Money For 12/10 Photos: Canelo is Officially Belted in Puerto Rico By The WBO Cotto Says Canelo Rematch is a Subject For Discussion Danny Williams Returns, Faces Ali Eren Demirezen in Hamburg Edis Tatli Takes on Manuel Lancia on December 17 Canelo vs. Saunders Showdown Fully Backed By WBO Prez Weights: David Lemieux, Cristian Fabian Rios Ready To Fight Eggington Predicts Damage: I'm Going To Do a Job on Gavin Jeff Horn Ready For IBF Strap: 100%, Bring on Errol Spence! Hooker Plans on Testing Perez's Chin Early on Kovalev vs. Ward Marin, Pintor Make Weight For Boxeo Telemundo Season Finale Photo: Micki Nielsen, Kevin Lerena Ready For Battle Abel Sanchez Very Confident That Andy Ruiz Beats Joseph Parker Frampton: I'll Make it Two-Nil, Santa Cruz Only Fights One Way! Golovkin's Coach: I Doubt Canelo Will Last Eight or Nine Rounds Jeff Horn Crushes Rico Mueller As Title Shot Nears David Haye: Fans Want Me To Smash Tony Bellew, Shut Him Up Joshua Taylor Tabbed To Become World Champion By McGuigan Tim Bradley: I Need To Retire A Winner, Capture One More Title Eric Molina: I'll Fight Anthony Joshua or David Price on Dec. 10 Canelo: It Would Be an Honor To Rematch Miguel Cotto Kevin Lerena Confident of Knocking Micki Nielsen Out

Latest Active Forum Threads