British heavyweight Audley Harrison is to return to the ring in April, it has been confirmed.
Harrison last fought in November 2010 when he was soundly beaten by David Haye in a challenge for the WBA heavyweight title.
The 40-year-old has since appeared in TV reality show Strictly Come Dancing but is now to return to his chosen profession when he fights Ali Adams in a 10-rounder in Brentwood on April 14.
Explaining his decision to return, Harrison said: "I've never been more disappointed in myself as I felt that night (against Haye).
"Anyone can lose, but I didn't lose with dignity, so I was never going to retire of that performance.
"'I've been sitting on the shelf for 15 months, so I'm grateful for this opportunity.
"With my right arm now healed, I'll have too much for Ali Adams. I intend to show I still have a future in the game."
However, Iraq-born Adams branded the former Olympic and European champion "a joke".
Adams, who has won 13 and lost three of his 17 fights, said: "Audley is a joke. His fight with Haye was an embarrassment and he still wants to make a comeback.
"I will give him such a beating that Audley will see he does not belong in a boxing ring again."
LYON TO HEADLINE IN HOMETOWN
CRAIG LYON will top the bill in his hometown St Helens for the first time on Saturday 31st March.
The English bantamweight champion will make the second defence of his title against Newcastle southpaw Martin Ward in a homecoming ten rounder.
It will be Lyon’s first fight since his Prizefighter setback against Ryan Farrag, in one of the most exciting fights ever seen in that competition.
Also looking to make a winning return on the Sutton Sports Centre bill will be former British welterweight champion Craig Watson who hasn’t fought since losing his title rematch against Lee Purdy last July.
Lyon (12-1-1) recent changed camps leaving Oliver Harrison’s stable to be trained by Ricky Hatton.
‘Hitman’ Hatton said: “Oliver did an excellent job with Craig and I hope to continue the fine work he did.
“We have had a few weeks together and both of us are enjoying the partnership and hopefully it will develop in the coming months.
Lyon, 29, won the English crown in October 2010 forcing Ross Burkinshaw to retire on his stool after five rounds. His only defence against Josh Wale ended in a technical draw after three rounds because both men were cut.
Craig appeared twice in his hometown early on as a professional - outpointing Issac Owusu and Anthony Hannah on undercards but cannot wait to defend a title there.
Ward, 23, has won 13 of his 14 professional contests and is coming into the fight with confidence boosting KO of Andy Roberts.
Watson (20-5) shocked John O’Donnell to become British champion last February, but was then upset in his first defence by Purdy losing in five rounds.
In a rematch, the Essex man repeated the win over the 28-year-old dropping Watson twice and forcing another fifth round stoppage.
Watson who will face a selected opponent in St Helens insisted: “I have had a good rest and still have plenty to offer.”
The card is the latest broadcast live on You Tube by Hatton TV and expects to pull in tens of thousands of fans from around the globe.
Hatton Promotions Director of Boxing, Richard Poxon will reveal the full undercard in the coming weeks.
Boxing starts at 7pm tickets are priced at £30 general admission and £55 ringside. You can buy by calling 01925 755 222, Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500, Ticketline 0844 888 9991, any boxer on the bill or online www.hattonboxing.com
RABCHENKO WARNS RHODES: YOUR TIME IS UP
BELARUSSIAN sensation Sergey Rabchenko is confident of ending Ryan Rhodes big time boxing career.
The Hatton Promotions stable-mates will meet for the vacant European light-middleweight in Ryan’s hometown, Sheffield on Saturday March 24 at Ponds Forge Arena.
Belarusian Rabchenko, who is currently training with his national amateur team, is unbeaten in 19 fights – with 14 victories inside the distance.
Rabchenko, 25, said: “Ryan is a former European champion and WBC world title challenger, so this is a perfect chance for me to show everyone that I am the best light middleweight in Europe and that I am ready to step up to world class level.
“I have been waiting for the European title from June 2011. I was ready to box Lukas Konecny and I was ready to box Prince Arron for this belt, but the fights never happened.
“Finally it's Ryan, a great warrior who will not run away and accepts the risk to step up to the ring against me.
“I respect Ryan for this. But this is my message to him, ‘You had this title before Ryan… now it's my time!"
“I would like to thank all my team and especially Hatton Promotions who have worked very hard so that this fight will happen. I will not disappoint them.”
The Sky Sports televised show is already close to a complete sell-out and will also feature Gary Buckland’s British super-featherweight title defence against Middlesbrough’s Paul Truscott.
On the undercard Sheffield heavyweight Richard Towers will have his first ten rounder and the card will also include unbeaten local ticket sellers Adam Etches and Scott Jenkins.
Boxing starts at 6.15pm and the remaining tickets are priced at £35 general admission, £55 floor seating, £75 ringside and £100 VIP Ringside. You can buy by calling 01925 755 222, Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500, Ticketline 0844 888 9991, any boxer on the bill or online www.hattonboxing.com