Boxing: Shine on.
AUDLEY Harrison admits he is still a year away from fighting for a British title.
The Olympic superheavyweight was tested in his fifth professional bout at Excel in London's Docklands on Tuesday night, overcoming his former sparring partner Mark Krence on points after six tough rounds.
But Harrison insisted that he remains on a track which he maintains will one day lead him to the world title.
He said: ``I'm as hungry as ever and I've still got a lot to prove. Now I've got to move onto the next phase.
``When I turned professional I said I would fight for the British title within two years and so I believe that in the next 12 months I will be the British champion.''
That title is currently held by Brixton's Danny Williams, who insists that a forthcoming series of bouts in America to find a new WBA champion will not distract him from his desire to hold onto his domestic crown until Harrison comes along.
Krence gave Harrison plenty of things to work on. The Chesterfield man, who came into the fight unbeaten but with only two stoppage wins in 11, even shook the favourite with a swinging left hook in the fourth round, although he lacked the power to threaten a knockdown as he was more than two stones lighter than the Olympian.
Harrison had connected with some powerful punches of his own and was awarded a knockdown in the second round, although Krence insisted he had slipped.
Then Harrison appeared to tire through the fourth and fifth rounds before finishing well.
Referee John Keane's 58-55 scorecard rightly awarded the underdog two of the six rounds.
His manager Colin McMillan, who says he expects Harrison to be back in the ring for his sixth contest within six weeks, said: ``I believe that in the first three rounds Audley boxed lovely but then he started believing he could take the guy out and lost focus.
``But he's had six rounds to develop and now there are plenty of things he can go back and work on.
``We have put together a programme and he is like anybody else - he needs to develop and we are taking things gradually.''
Many critics suggest things are being taken a little too gradually.
The problem is not so much the quality of his opponents in themselves, but their quality in the context of Harrison's boasts of future greatness, particualrly as he is still top of the bill.
Harrison added: ``There aren't many fighters who can capture the public's imagination these days.
``I am in a privileged position and I intend to carry on shining the light.
``I believe I have the ability to fight the best and to become a beacon for this country. The British title's great but it is my goal to become world champion.
``If I get there the whole country will benefit - all the kids in the gyms who need somebody to look up to.''
LIGHT SIDE: Audley Harrison
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|Publication:||Daily Post (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||May 23, 2002|
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