Former Olympic champion Audley A Force Harrison finished training camp today and announced himself ready for his final assault on the heavyweight division.
Audley leaves for England tomorrow, confident and focused for his bout with Ali Adams at the Brentwood Center, Essex, on Saturday 26th May.
Audley sparred today with undefeated heavyweights Malik Scott (33-0) & Joe Hanks (20-0), and looked like the A Force of old, with speed, confidence and power on show as he went through his rounds.
ĎThis training camp has tested my resolve to remain a prizefighter, as every injury Iíve ever had has come back to plague me in this camp, but I found that N.E.G.U (never, ever, give, up) spirit and kept it moving and turned back the clock; I feel greatí.
Audley commented, Ď I know its dangerous to look past an opponent, especially when their hungry and motivated like Ali Adams, but letís be honest, Iím in a different leagueÖtaking charge of my training camp again, allowed me to reignite the passion, hunger and desire needed to succeed and Iím back to loving my boxingí.
After I give Ali Adams a lesson in the sweet science, Iím looking for a challenge with one of the upcoming heavyweights. Iím throwing my name into the hat with David Price, Tyson Fury, Jonathan Banks or Seth Mitchell.
ĎI want to be honest about why I took the fight with David Haye.† It was the first time in my career that I took a fight and it was not about the glory and it showed in my mentality and confidence on fight night.
My doctors told me after the Sprott fight, your pec has already torn; another operation is likely not to be successful. I told them operate anyway; I refuse to retire now. I was forced to give up my European title and was told stay away from any contact for at least 12 months and see what happens.
I was in rehab when the fight offer from Hayemaker came through. I deliberated for days about whether to take it and I spoke with many people, but the final decision was mineí, commented Harrison.
With the money that was on the table, plus the chance to be involved in a world heavyweight title fight against my protťgť, was too much to turn down. I thought youíve got the shot you have always wanted, but your not going to be physically ready to fight. F..k it, you got to take itÖ
It hasnít helped my legacy, but I can live with that. In 2011, I found a way to create some goodwill with my appearance on Strictly Come Dancing and I made my body healí.
No excuses, ready to put in not one, but a succession of Olympic type performances to finish my career on a high and go out as a British bad boy, done good; who turned his life around and did himself, his family and his Country proud.
Through my trials and tribulations, people will come to understand the power of never ever giving up and rising up each time life knocks you down.
IN DEPTH WITH JOE SELKIRK
Unbeaten Liverpool light-middleweight star Joe Selkirk features on the debut of BoxAcademy tonight at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester.
Selkirk takes on Jason Ball over eight rounds with unbeaten prospects Rocky Fielding, Paul Butler and Calum Johnson also featuring on the card.
Watch tonightís BoxAcademy debut live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) from 7.30pm.† Join at www.boxnation.com
Name: Joseph Selkirk
Born: Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool
Family background: Iíve a younger brother and a younger sister. I live by myself in Huyton after splitting up with me bird. Iíve no kids that I know of!
Trade: None. Iíve always been a full-time boxer.
Nickname: Iíve not got one.
What age did you become interested in boxing and why? All my family have been into the boxing. Most boxed and my granddadís brother Tony Smith fought for the British and Commonwealth welterweight title in the 1960s (stopped in nine by Swanseaís Brian Curvis). The family tell me I was always hitting the top Ďní bottom (floor to ceiling) ball as young as two or three. I was going to the boxing gym regular from the age of six.
What do you recall of your amateur career? I started out at the marsh Lane club and won the national schoolboys there before moving on to the Rotunda ABC around the age of 13.
My coaches at the Rotunda were the late Jimmy Albertini and Mick McAllister. We had a great gym; all the Smith brothers (Paul, Stephen, Liam and Callum), Tony Bellew, Joseph McNally. They took me to the Junior ABA title, two NABC titles and two senior ABA finals. First time in 2005, I lost to Brett Flournoy who got murdered last year- shot, burnt and buried. Bad that.† Then, in 2007, I won the welterweight title against M.Clauzel from Northumbria. Before that, I stopped Anthony Ogogo, whoís going the Olympics this year, in the semis and I also beat Kirk Kirkham, a good lad, in the North West Counties final. I beat loads of other good kids such as Sam Webb, Denton Vassell and John Murray.
Winning those senior ABAs was definitely the highlight of my amateur career, not just because of the calibre of the people that I beat but also because I did it with just one hand. I bust my right and basically couldnít do any sparring or hit a bag or pad with the bad hand. I won the ABAS just shadow boxing. Injuries like that held me back quite a bit in the amateurs. I was down to go to the World Seniors in Chicago but had to pull out cos me hand was bad.
All told, I had between 80 and 90 amateur fights and I know I lost 10. I mustíve boxed 20 times for England and, in addition to winning the Four Nations, I got a medal at every multi-nations tournament I went to. I boxed in Italy, Germany, France, Poland...loads of places. The only time I went outside of Europe was to the (2004) World Juniors in South Korea but I got beat over there. On the same squad as me was ĎSwiftyí (Stephen Smith), Amir Khan, Bradley Saunders, (James) DeGale and ĎBig Priceyí (David Price). Some team, that.
I did okay but I look back on my amateur career with disappointment really. I shouldíve achieved a lot more. My dream was always to go to the Olympics. I was in pole position for Beijing but took a year out because of the hand. While I was away, Billy Joe Saunders qualified for Beijing and my chance had gone.
If Iím brutally honest, I werenít as dedicated as I couldíve been. I had injuries, a few personal issues and also, as a young lad, I spent far too much time out partying, on the ale. I could be an absolute idiot. After my wins, even during the ABAs, Iíd go out on the town. I was out until four in the morning the night before I lost to Brett Flournoy in that final.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? After I missed the (2008)Olympics, there was nothing really for me to hang around for. Iíd already won the senior ABAs. I needed a fresh challenge.
Tell us about your back up team: Frank (Warren) manages and promotes me and today Iím trained by Mick McAllister and Mark Quinn back at the Rotunda amateur gym. Itís great being back around the young kids. Previously, I was coached by Georgie Vaughan, a real diamond who was more like family than a trainer to me. After George retired I had one fight with Oliver Harrison over in Salford, another very good coach, but then got back training with (Tony) Bellew.
Mick and Mark were both involved with me in the amateurs since I was 13. They know me inside out, know how to get the best out of me. Mickís very good with the technical side and Mark really works me hard. Both really know their stuff. Tactically, they set perfect gameplans. They really put the time and effort in for me.
(Conditioner-nutritionist) Kerry Kayes kindly provides all my protein drinks and supplements.
Whatís your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I pretty much train seven days a week at the minute. Four or five times a week, I go running with ĎBomberí (Bellew). Heís an absolute animal and a total athlete. I really struggled to stay with him the first few weeks but now I match him. We really bounce off each other.
Every day at the gym is different, if Iím honest. Some days I just go through the motions, practicing technical stuff, others Iíll be there for four or five hours, really putting it in. I really like to learn stuff so working the pads, then trying to implement the moves and shots Iíve been shown in sparring, is what I enjoy most.† I like getting things right.
What I hate is the running, even though Iím pretty good at it. I love my bed and hate getting up in the morning. Me and Anthony (Bellew) do the track for 40 minutes and thatís really hard.
Describe your style? What are your best qualities? Iím a boxer-puncher who can do bits of everything. Everyone seems to label me as a banger and I suppose Iíve had a few good knockouts but I believe Iím a better boxer than I am a puncher. So far, Iíve really not boxed well as a pro. Iíve neglected my skills in favour of trying to put people to sleep and make more of a name for myself.
I think my jabs me best punch, everything comes off that. My right hand was always been the big shot but, because of the injuries, Iíve needed to adapt and now I believe the left is just as hard. Itís all timing and accuracy rather than brute strength. Now my fitness is really good, too. Me headís sound now and I intend to give it everything on Friday night.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? Using my brain more. I know the abilityís there. I need a couple of consecutive fights, Friday then again in July, to build momentum. Then I should be ready for a title shot in September.
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? Itís a bit slower and that definitely suits me because, in the amateurs, I always felt rushed. Now I can take my time.
Who is the best opponent that youíve shared a ring with? Iíve sparred with loads; Amir Khan, Bellew, DeGale, George Groves, Kenny Anderson - a real tough man Ė but the hardest spar Iíve had was probably with Carl Froch. Heís so fit, so strong, so clever; knows what point of the round to apply his pressure. Heís a proper world class fighter.
The hardest fella I ever fought was a Canadian called Adam trupish. He sent Ryan Pickard fast to sleep in the amateurs and also knocked out Jean Pascal. I think he went to two Olympics. I stood with him and beat him over four rounds at a multi-nations in Liverpool but it was proper war.
All time favourite fighter: Oscar De La Hoya. I really liked his style and he fought everybody.
All time favourite fight: Probably the first Barrera-Morales fight. I was a Barrera man. Those fights were full of action, swayed both ways. Both were hurt several times.
Which current match would you most like to see made? Canelo Alvarez against Miguel Cotto. Not sure who wins. Possibly Alvarez. Heís younger and fresher.
What is your routine on fight day? I usually canít sleep the night before. My mindís pretty alive so Iím usually up by nine or ten. Iíll have a bowl of porridge but, after that, Iíll not eat much, just have me drinks. I donít like to feel bloated. I might watch a DVD or some tele but I like to be around people. Me mates make me laugh which decreases the tension.
I used to get very nervous, doubting my fitness, worried about nagging injuries. I werenít very confident but now Iím fit and well I know I can handle whatever the opposition brings. In the changing room, Iím pretty calm. No point wasting nervous energy.
Entrance music:† I change every time. Itís usually a good dance track.
What are your ambitions as a boxer? I want to reach me goals, chase me dreams. Iím motivated by titles, more than money. That comes automatically with the success. Though Iím 26, Iím in no rush. Iím still fresh, in good nick. Iíd like to be European champion in a couple of years.
How do you relax? Go out with me mates or a girl, for a quiet drink. I play a little bit of five-a-side and also like a game of pool.
Football team:† Liverpool. I still go the match when I can. I went to Wembley for the (FA Cup) semi-final with Everton. (Toffee man) Bellewís face on the Monday after was priceless!
Read: Just the Boxing News and the Boxing Monthly.
Music: Mainly dance and R Ďní B.
Films/TV: I like a good old gangster film. Goodfellas is probably my favourite. The funniest thing on tele is that Celebrity Juice. I wouldnít mind a night out with that Keith Lemon.
Aspiration in life: To get the best out of me life. To enjoy myself and know Iíve done me family proud.
Motto:† Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. I got that one off Bellew.
Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Katie Taylor is just one win away from securing her fourth AIBA World 60kg title in-a-row.
The Bray BC lightweight recorded a 16-6 semi-final victory over Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan in China this morning (Irish time) to advance to her fourth consecutive AIBA World Womenís Championship final.
Taylor, boxing well within herself and technically superb, established a 5-1 lead by the end of the first frame of todayís four-rounder courtesy of her trademark right jab, left hook combinations, combinations which were delivered with blinding speed.
Taylor built on her lead in rounds one and two and held a seven point advantage going into the fourth, a stanza which saw the Tajik champion, a gold medal winner at the 2010 Asian Championships, take a standing count after she was rocked by another rapid-fire combo from the Irishwoman.
Taylor will now meet Sofya Ochigava in Saturdayís lightweight final at the Olympic Stadium in Qinhuangdao.
The Russian southpaw advanced after chalking up an 18-10 last-four win over Englandís Natasha Jonas today.
Saturdayís final will be a repeat of the 2011 European Championships decider in Rotterdam which Taylor won 10-5 to claim her fifth European gold medal on-the-trot.
Speaking after todayís semi-final, Taylor, who qualified for the 2012 Olympics in Qinhuangdao, said that she was thrilled with the victory.
ďIím delighted to be in another final, said the Irish 2012 Olympian.
ďShe (Chorieva) was very strong. I kept her off with my jab and picked her off with the left hook all the time.
ďMy dad and Zuar (Irish coaches Pete Taylor and Zuar Antia) told me to keep my left hand busy. I didnít need to mix it up with her. I tried to stay long and tried to pick her off as she was coming in. It worked perfectly really.Ē
Saturdayís finals begin at 7am Irish time. Ten titles will be up for grabs.
Taylor is now guaranteed at least a silver medal in Qinhuangdao.
Todayís win was Irelandís second over Tajikistan in China as Cavan BC flyweight Ceire Smith stopped Veglina Svetlana in round three in the preliminaries.
The 7th AIBA World Womenís Championships are acting as the first, and only, Olympic qualifier for female boxers for London 2012.
Womenís boxing will make it historic debut at the London Olympics in three weight categories Ė flyweight, lightweight and middleweight Ė over 100 years after male boxing debuted at the 1904 Olympic Games in the USA.
7th AIBA World Womenís Championships Qinhuangdao, China
(Afternoon sessions begin at 2pm local time, 7am Irish time)
51kg (Last 64) Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Veglina Svetlana (Tajikistan) RSC3
75kg (Last 64) Sinead Kavanagh (Ireland) lost to Francelis Paez Carmona (Venezuela) 19-23
51kg (Last 32) Ceire Smith (Ireland) beat Sarah-Joy Iris Rae (Jamaica) 12-4
60Kg (Last 32) Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Rim Jouini (Tunisia) 19-6
51kg (Last 16) Ceire Smith (Ireland) lost to Anna Karolina Michalczuk (Poland) RSC3
60kg (Last 16) Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Saida Khassenova (Kazakhstan) RSC4
60kg (Quarter-finals) Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Mihaela Lacatus (Romania) W/O
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Mavzuna Chorieva (Tajikistan) 16-6
60kg Sofya Ochigava (Russia) beat Natasha Jonas (England) 18-10
May 19th Ė Afternoon)
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) v Soyfa Ochigava (Russia)
51kg (Flyweight) Ceire Smith (Cavan)
60kg (Lightweight) Katie Taylor (Bray)
75kg (Middleweight) Sinead Kavanagh (Drimnagh)
Team manager: Anna Moore
Coaches: Peter Taylor and Zuar Antia
Physio: Mary Louis Ryan