Tag Archives: harrison

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Nathan Cleverly v Robin Krasniqi and Dereck Chisora v Hector Avila – LIVE

LIVE BOXING: Nathan Cleverly v Robin Krasniqi and Dereck Chisora v Hector Avila

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

03:00 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

19:17 GMT, 20 April 2013

Nathan Cleverly fights on home soil for the first time in 14 months when he takes on his mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi over 12 rounds at Wembley Arena.

The WBO light-heavyweight champion is joined on a stacked card by Dereck Chisora, Liam Walsh and Scott Harrison along with a number of promising young fighters.

Email your thoughts on the big fight to martin.domin@dailymail.co.uk or via @martin_domin

8.15pm: Harrison's punches are beginning to carry an air of desperation as Walsh slips and slides his way out of trouble while landing his own to the body. He has extended his lead as we enter the penultimate round.

8.05pm: Halfway through this 10-round contest and I have Walsh just in front. He's landing more accurately, even if Harrison looks to be throwing more punches.

8pm: The saying goes that a boxer's power is the last skill to go and if that is the case, Harrison could be heading for the retirement home. He lands a left hook flush in the fourth but Walsh laughs it off.

I get the feeling that Walsh will be happy to take this into the later rounds when his superior stamina should come into play.

Early action: Liam Walsh (right) misses with a right against Scott Harrison

Early action: Liam Walsh (right) misses with a right against Scott Harrison

7.50pm: Harrison started well in the opening round and looked to land the right hand. Walsh's left eye was cut after a clash of heads but the Scot did enough to take the session.

Walsh was livelier in the second and Harrison was admonished by the referee for failing to stop when requested. The champion then had the better of the exchanges.

7.40pm: Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of a packed card at Wembley Arena in London.

Scott Harrison has just made his entrance ahead of his clash with WBO European champion Liam Walsh.

The Glaswegian takes on the unbeaten 26-year-old in his third fight since returning from a near seven-year absence.

Great Britain's Nathan Cleverly (left) is pulled away as he faces his challenger Germany's Robert Krasniqi

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David Haye return Manchester June 29

Haye announces Manchester return after growing tired of waiting for Klitschkos

as he beat British rival Dereck Chisora at West Ham's Upton Park stadium, with his belief at the time that the success would lead to a fight with Vitali for the WBC belt.

Return: David Haye announced that he will fight in Manchester on June 29

Return: David Haye announced that he will fight in Manchester on June 29

British former WBA heavyweight boxing champion David Haye and his trainer, Adam Booth

David Haye announces his return to the boxing ring

That was not to be but Haye is now ready to go in search of the mandatory challenger tag by beating an opponent in June.

Haye's trainer, Adam Booth, has confirmed talks are ongoing with five fighters, all ranked in the top 15, none of whom are British. The Klitschko brothers are not among the five though.

'I believe they have their strategy for this year and it doesn't involve me. Instead of sitting around and waiting another year I want to get back in there,' Haye said.

'Why wait around and stagnate when you don't have to I'm happy to be back – a year is long enough time to wait for someone to phone you. I want that heavyweight title back and I will get it.

Back again: Haye will fight in Manchester, scene of his victory over Audley Harrison in 2010

Back again: Haye will fight in Manchester, scene of his victory over Audley Harrison in 2010

'I was hoping Vitali would be a man of his word and fight me after I did what he and his team wanted me to do and beat Dereck Chisora.

'We have been sitting around, waiting for the phone to ring, but that hasn't happened. We have sent some e-mails but they have fallen on deaf ears.'

Haye felt he was in line for a title fight against Vitali late last year after his display in beating Chisora in the fifth-round of their fight in impressive style, but it did not come to fruition with Manuel Charr selected ahead of Haye.

'The Chisora fight was a carrot dangled by Vitali Klitschko,' Haye said.

Knockout: Haye was last in the ring when he stopped Dereck Chisora in the fifth round at Upton Park

Knockout: Haye was last in the ring when he stopped Dereck Chisora in the fifth round at Upton Park

Knockout: Haye was last in the ring when he stopped Dereck Chisora in the fifth round at Upton Park

'He said, 'You beat Dereck Chisora and I will fight the winner', you can look back on the footage. I knew it would be a good fight [with Chisora] and the British public wanted to see it. Dereck is a tough guy and has the style that can give many people a few problems.

'A lot of people actually tipped Dereck to beat me, winning on points was never an option and I said that to anyone who would listen.'

Haye maintains he will not fight purely for money and is more interested in collecting titles, claiming a spell out of the ring which saw him make an appearance in the ITV reality TV show 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here' has seen his fan-base swell.

Jungle fever: Haye made an appearance on I'm A Celebrity... Get me out of here!

Jungle fever: Haye made an appearance on I'm A Celebrity… Get me out of here!

Jungle fever: Haye made an appearance on I'm A Celebrity... Get me out of here!

'The fans all over the world, wherever I travel to, people want to see me back in the ring and ask me when they can see me. Well, on June 29 they will be able to see me do it,' Haye said.

'I want to get out there and put on a good show – 100 to 200 times a day people are walking up to me in the street.

'Strangely a lot of them are people who have never actually seen me fight live and I have reached out to a different demographic now after doing the TV show last year. It is a nice opportunity for me to do what I do best and knock someone out for the millions of my fans around the world.

Brawl: Haye and Chisora came to blows in Munich before settling their differences in the ring

Brawl: Haye and Chisora came to blows in Munich before settling their differences in the ring

haye

'I'm in it for the right reasons – I don't have to box. That is the difference between myself and a lot of the other heavyweights out there who have to box to pay the bills.

'I'm in it because I genuinely want to do it, I don't need to do it. I want to win that title back and I'm willing to put my body through the pain of a hard training camp to secure this fight.'

Defeat: Haye lost to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg but blamed the result on a broken toe (below)

Defeat: Haye lost to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg but blamed the result on a broken toe (below)

David Haye's broken toe after the fight

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Minnesota Vikings train with the Yorkshire Vikings

Surely there's more padding than this! NFL stars go into bat with cricketers of Yorkshire

PUBLISHED:

15:15 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 27 March 2013

Yorkshire welcomed a Viking invasion from Minnesota on Wednesday as cricketers and American footballers swapped kit and technique tips at Headingley.

NFL side Minnesota are in Britain on a promotional tour and touched down in Yorkshire for a day of training with the county, who recently settled upon the name 'Vikings' in one-day cricket.

And the gridiron giants were taught the intricacies of the quintessential English summer sport by White Rose stars Liam Plunkett, Phil Jaques and Jack Brooks.

Invasion: (back row left to right) Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett, Phil Jaques and Jack Brooks (all in white) flank Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph while Harrison Smith bats and John Sullivan keeps wicket while two Vikings roar their approval

Invasion: (back row left to right) Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett, Phil Jaques and Jack Brooks (all in white) flank Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph while Harrison Smith bats and John Sullivan keeps wicket while two Vikings roar their approval

Yorkshire and Minnesota

Role reversal: Yorkshire bowler Jack Brooks holds the football while Minnesota centre John Sullivan wields the bat

Role reversal: Yorkshire bowler Jack Brooks holds the football while Minnesota centre John Sullivan wields the bat

Minnesota, who reached the NFL play-offs last year, are promoting the Sky Sports series about them, named Inside the Vikings, which will air on April 3. They are playing Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley in September.

Centre John Sullivan, Tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith put on a different kind of padding to have a net while the Yorkshire lads donned the helmets and shoulder pads ready for some football.

The Americans seemed to enjoy it and Sullivan tweeted: '@Yorkshireccc Thanks so much for the hospitality'.

Defence: Former England man Liam Plunkett teaches Kyle Rudolph how to bat

Defence: Former England man Liam Plunkett teaches Kyle Rudolph how to bat

Kyle Rudolph went for a bat and Plunkett told the Yorkshire website: 'I was very surprised how good Kyle’s batting was.

'Boy he could hit a ball. He creamed a few times through the covers – he could well be a pinch hitter for the Vikings in this year’s Friends Life t20 competition. He could well follow in the footsteps of another famous Yorkshire player Jacques Rudolph.

'I’m a big American Sports fan and love the NFL. This is a great opportunity to expose cricket to a wider marketing and more importantly Yorkshire Vikings.

'To have high-profile NFL players from the Minnesota Vikings come to our club is a great initiative and gives us some great momentum going into the new season.'

Offence: Kyle Rudolph has a swing

Offence: Kyle Rudolph has a swing

Rudolph added: “I didn’t know much about cricket before coming to Headingley today.

'This is a great tie up between two big sports organisations in Minnesota and Yorkshire. I will certainly be following the Yorkshire team this year, via social media, and hope they have a big season.

'We have been made to feel very welcome and love the Yorkshire hospitality.'

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David Price knocks out Matt Skelton to retain British heavyweight title

The Price is right as rapid-fire knockout keeps David on course for world title shot

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 30 November 2012

David Price took the next step on the road that could lead to a shot at the world title with a two-round demolition of Matt Skelton.

This has been a year to remember for the towering Liverpudlian and he finished it in the best possible fashion, taking his unbeaten record to a perfect 15-0 and giving himself the platform for a crack at the European crown.

Back at Aintree racecourse, where he had brushed Sam Sexton aside in May to win the vacant British and Commonwealth belts, Price produced his most accomplished display of 2012, pulverising Skelton with a flurry of unstoppable blows.

Too strong: David Price knocks out Matt Skelton (below) and celebrates his victory (above)

Too strong: David Price knocks out Matt Skelton (below) and celebrates his victory (above)

Too strong: David Price knocks out Matt Skelton (below) and celebrates his victory (above)

First to the punch: Price rains blows on Skelton

First to the punch: Price rains blows on Skelton

Though Skelton tried to grapple and impose himself on Price to make this a war of attrition from the outset, Price landed the first telling blows – a right jab and a right hook to rattle his 45-year-old opponent – and he never looked like losing.

This was expected to be a significantly sterner test for Price than one he faced when dispossessing of Audley Harrison in the blink of an eye six weeks ago. Gnarled, experienced and a former World title challenger, he had the tools to take any advantage of any chinks in Price’s armour.

But Skelton simply had no answer to the bombardment that came his way in the second round. A left jab followed by a right-hook was enough to get a partisan crowd on its feet early on and set the alarm bells ringing in Skelton’s corner.

Sensing the opportunity to finish things quickly, Price unleashed a barrage of body shots to pole-axe Skleton, with a short left-hook into his midriff enough to send him crashing to the canvas and prompt the towel to be hurled in after two minutes and 56 seconds.

It was the heaviest defeat Skelton has ever suffered and now Price can start thinking about world dominance. First, however, there maybe a clash with Tyson Fury.

Dodge this: Price aims an uppercut at the Bedford Bear

Dodge this: Price aims an uppercut at the Bedford Bear

Down for the count: Skelton goes to the canvas after a heavy barrage of body blows

Down for the count: Skelton goes to the canvas after a heavy barrage of body blows

Cakewalk: Price (right) turns back to his corner as Skelton is counted out at Aintree Equestrian Centre

Cakewalk: Price (right) turns back to his corner as Skelton is counted out at Aintree Equestrian Centre

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David Price ready for Matt Skelton

I won't be Mr Nice in the ring, insists Price ahead of Skelton challenge

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UPDATED:

18:37 GMT, 28 November 2012

Nice guy David Price is happy to keep nurturing his nasty streak as he builds his growing reputation as the hottest property in heavyweight boxing.

The genial Liverpudlian's stock has continued to rise in 2012 with a series of brutal wins brought about by his devastating punching power.

Price, 29, hopes to finish a successful year in style when he defends his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles against tough veteran Matt Skelton at Aintree on Friday.

Head to head: David Price (left) takes on Matt Skelton in Liverpool on Friday

Head to head: David Price (left) takes on Matt Skelton in Liverpool on Friday

After destroying other British rivals such as Tom Dallas, John McDermott, Sam Sexton and Audley Harrison in brutal style, the pressure is on for Price to repeat such ferocity.

And the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist admits even he has been taken aback by his explosive power.

'I've surprised myself with my progress at times,' he said. 'I've expected the fights to be a bit more difficult.

'It's the punch power which surprises me because in training I know I can punch, but it's when I put the 10oz gloves on, get in the ring and start punching then that it produces results which I didn't think were possible.

'I have got that nastiness in there. It's something that people always thought I never had. I've heard a lot of people say to me 'you're too nice'.

'But being nice is one thing and being soft is another and I'm not soft.'

Knockout: Price destroyed Audley Harrison in the first round in his last fight

Knockout: Price destroyed Audley Harrison in the first round in his last fight

Price added: 'I might be a nice person but when I'm in that ring a completely different persona comes out. It's heavyweight boxing, at the end of the day.

'If I don't finish the job it can give them an opportunity to take me out. It only takes one punch. So I want to get them out of there as quickly as possible and when I hit someone, I make sure they stay hit.

'That's what boxing is about. It's the noble art. For all the trash talking involved in boxing – which there is a place for, because people get excited about it, but it's not for me – there's always room for gentlemanly conduct as well.

'I just be myself and be normal and it comes across well to the fans as someone they can relate to.

'There's also a market for the trash talk as well, so it creates a nice balance.'

After such progress this year, the selection of Skelton (28-6) as challenger has drawn criticism from some quarters.

On the rise: Price remains unbeaten as he looks to dominate the heavyweight scene

On the rise: Price remains unbeaten as he looks to dominate the heavyweight scene

But while the 45-year-old Bedford brawler's age has unsurprisingly raised eyebrows, the former kickboxing champion arguably poses more of a threat than the timid Harrison managed last time out.

'Matt Skelton's a fighter a lot of fighters would prefer to avoid because he's a tough opponent who can make guys look bad,' said Price (14-0, 12KOs).

'He's fit, he's durable and he's a fighter. I think it's a significant fight for me.

'I haven't been getting many rounds under my belt and I think Skelton will be able to take my punches. If he doesn't then he doesn't and it's a confidence boost for me and if he does, then it's good rounds in the bank for me.'

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Scott Harrison sentenced to four years in prison

Harrison sentenced to four years in Spanish prison after brothel brawl

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UPDATED:

08:51 GMT, 6 November 2012

Shamed former world champion Scott Harrison has been sentenced to four years in a Spanish jail after being convicted of assault.

The Scotsman, 35, returned to the ring in June after almost seven years in the wilderness and had hoped to fight for another world title.

But Harrison, who intends to appeal the verdict, was found guilty of assaulting three men at a brothel after a trial in Malaga.

Return: Scott Harrison (right) in action against Joe Elfidh in September

Return: Scott Harrison (right) in action against Joe Elfidh in September

He received two years each for the two most serious assaults and a fine for the attack on the third victim.

Harrison's dad Peter told the Daily Record: 'Scott will be appealing this, 100 per cent.

'He has already said he is innocent and that remains the case. He’s down but determined to clear his name.

'Scott is a victim here – and I’m not just saying that because I’m his dad.'

Harrison was only released from a Spanish prison in September last year after spending 30 months behind bars for an assault in 2005.

But despite the sentence, Harrison hopes that by appealing, he can continue his comeback in the ring by fighting John Simpson in Glasgow on December 1.

Guilty: Harrison in a Spanish court

Guilty: Harrison in a Spanish court

He has also set his sights on a Scottish showdown with WBO world champion Ricky Burns.

Lead judge Julian Cruz said: 'Harrison is not a first-time offender and his criminal record reflects a prior assault conviction.

'We’re also taking into account the dangerous nature of this attack, the serious injuries inflicted and the fact one of the accused was a professional boxer with extensive experience in fighting.'

Harrison, from Cambuslang near Glasgow, was warned it could take up to a year before his appeal is settled.

But a Spanish legal source said: 'For the appeal to be successful, Harrison will have to show the other witnesses, or victims, lied. Because there is an appeal, everything will be frozen until the appeal is heard.'

Harrison looked sluggish when fighting on the undercard of Burns' stunning victory over Kevin Mitchell in September when he struggled to a points win over Joe Elfidh.

That followed a knockout win over Gyorgy Mizsei Jnr earlier on his return, a far cry from his glory days as a featherweight world champion.

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Boxing deserves cynical Audley Harrison: Patrick Collins

A sport without shame gets the man it deserves in cynical Audley

By
Patrick Collins

PUBLISHED:

21:17 GMT, 27 October 2012

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 27 October 2012

It is a spring evening in May 2001 and
Wembley Arena is packed for the main event. In the red corner, Mike
‘The Jinx’ Middleton from Tampa, Florida. A 33-year-old private
detective, he has lost half of his 18 contests. He stands 6ft 1in,
weighs 15st 7lb and is earning about 3,500 for his night’s work.

In the blue corner, five inches taller
and three stones heavier, Audley Harrison, Olympic champion, national
hero. He is making his professional debut and has signed a long-term,
1million contract with BBC Television.

It is a predictably brief and farcical
encounter. Just two minutes and 45 seconds pass before the referee
waves merciful arms above the stricken Middleton.

Strike a pose: Mike Middleton and Audley Harrison before their farcical bout

The beginning of the end: Mike Middleton and Audley Harrison before their farcical bout

Later, ‘The Jinx’ is asked if he is
disappointed. He laughs, long and loudly. Disappointed! Not a bit. He
knows the score. He has given the punters what they want. Submission was
his highest ambition. Meanwhile, Audley, in a moment of modest
introspection, observes that it might easily take him all of five years
to become world heavyweight champion.

I remember thinking that the end was
nigh. Woefully devoid of talent and authenticity, professional boxing
had downgraded its status from sad joke to protracted pantomime. It was
time to draw the curtains. And yet the joke has endured for a decade
and more, despite the overwhelming evidence of absurdity.

The cast is preposterous. David Haye
and Dereck Chisora, a prize pair of hapless hams, prove that a bar-room
brawl is the perfect promoter. Ricky Hatton, battered by Floyd
Mayweather and laid flat as water by Manny Pacquiao, attempts a comeback
after three years of spectacular self-indulgence and the tickets go
flying from the box office. ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, once a magnificent
cricketer, sheds a few pounds, poses as a heavyweight fighter for a
television stunt and requests a boxing licence. He is famous, you see,
and must therefore be taken seriously.

Bloodied and bowed: Harrison's cut nose is nursed during the one-sided defeat to David Price

Bloodied and bowed: Harrison's cut nose is nursed during the one-sided defeat to David Price

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Meanwhile, our Audley remains perhaps
the most shameless figure in a sport without shame. For years, he has
performed with the nervous air of a tightrope walker afraid of heights.
He clearly hates the game, fears the punishment, dreads the humiliation …
but worships the purses.

Now 41, and having recently been
flattened in 82 seconds by David Price, he has taken stock. On the one
hand, he sees the world ratings which place him at 81st among the
heavyweights; just below a Christian Hammer of Hamburg and just above
one Bowie Tupou of Los Angeles. On the other, he recognises that there
is still money to be made.

And so, he issues an official
statement. ‘I’ve decided to carry on. One more shot at glory … A
decision has come from above. He told me, “Son, lace up your gloves.
Your time as a boxer is not quite done”.’

The mocking laughter comes in waves. What is this talk of glory Who could believe the deity is such a terrible judge of boxing Yet Audley ignores the derision. He knows memories are short and hilarity will quickly die. For cheap threats and banal banter still shift tickets; fewer than before but sufficient to keep the wolf from the door. And isn’t that what the game is all about; schmoozing the public, selling notoriety, pushing empty promises while remaining brutally realistic

Outgunned: Harrison reflects on the sixth defeat of his professional career

Outgunned: Harrison reflects on the sixth defeat of his professional career

Mike ‘The Jinx’ Middleton understood that simple truth. Aware of his pugilistic limitations, he became a sparring partner. He sparred with some of the biggest and best and his philosophical insights are instructive.

He said of his patrons: ‘If you give them too much, they’ll send you home. And if you’re too easy to beat up, they’ll send you home. You’re there for the guy who is paying you. Marvin Hagler used to say about sparring partners: “You bring ’em in on a jet and if they’re no good, you send ’em home on a bus”.’

Some of that clear-eyed realism rubbed off on Audley Harrison, who knows just how the cynical caper works. Well enough to keep the show on the road for a while longer. I gave the game a decade to live but I was wrong.

For the actors are still reciting their lines and the gullible are still lapping them up. We live in a credulous age, where talent is redundant and authenticity is an optional extra. At this rate, professional boxing might easily survive another five years.

Stats too much to digest

Question: what do you do when you don’t really like sport but wish to convey an air of blokeish authority Answer: you produce a statistic.

Stats are what they serve up in gastro pubs and Premier League hospitality boxes. Always they are preceded by the crushing query: ‘Did you know’

Each weekend yields a new and gloriously useless crop — the most ‘assists’, the greatest number of ‘flick-ons’ — and Saturday morning’s gem was up there with the best.

Mental block: The number crunchers love how Albion's defence adds up

Mental block: The number crunchers love how Albion's defence adds up

Did you know that West Bromwich have blocked more of their opponents’ shots than any other Premier League side this season A total of 44. Just in front of Sunderland and QPR.

How amazing is that Yes, I’ll have another sandwich, please. Prawn, for preference.

Olympics prove sceptics wrong

While the nation celebrated the extraordinary success of London’s Olympics, the sceptics stood scowling on the sidelines.

A joyless bunch, they had forecast doom, gloom and ultimate despair. The Games, they told us, were too flippant, too frivolous, a vulgar distraction from the sombre tone of the times.

As the days passed and the elation increased, their numbers grew significantly smaller.

Yet there remained an irreconcilable core of flat-earthers; too arrogant to change, too miserable to recognise joyful reality. And they wagged their fingers and addressed us with condescending disapproval.

Magical: The Olympics was a shot in the arm to Britain

Magical: The Olympics was a shot in the arm to Britain

No matter that the capital’s image was being transformed, that the world was looking at Britain in a different light, that the nation was revealing qualities of imagination and organisation we had quite forgotten we possessed: the fact was, we simply couldn’t afford to stage sport’s greatest festival. It was an outrageous extravagance. And anybody who believed differently was either a knave or a fool.

Last week, as you may have noticed, Britain came out of recession after recording one per cent growth in the three months to September. A fragile recovery, perhaps, but the strongest growth figure of the past five years.
And, while it is impossible to be wholly accurate, a substantial proportion of this growth was attributed to Olympic ticket sales.

As vulgar distractions go, I would say that London 2012 served this country rather well.

PS

Andrew Strauss has been reflecting on his last, emotional, act as England captain. He sat down and composed a stream of hand-written letters of appreciation to the players who had served under him.

Did Kevin Pietersen feature on his list, he was asked

‘Um … I didn’t write to KP, actually,’ he said. He added: ‘I texted him.’

By common consent, Strauss is a loyal, decent, honourable man. Who has a wonderfully wicked way with a stiletto.

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Audley Harrison will fight on after David Price defeat

One more shot at glory! Deluded Harrison will fight on after embarrassing Price defeat

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UPDATED:

11:38 GMT, 25 October 2012

Audley Harrison has announced his intention to carry on boxing.

The 40-year-old, who won Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000, lasted just 82 seconds against British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price in a humiliating defeat on October 13.

And afterwards he admitted he would give serious consideration to hanging up his gloves.

Message from above: Harrison will return to the ring

Message from above: Harrison will return to the ring

But he has now opted to fight on, saying on Twitter: 'It's official… I've decided to carry on. One more shot at glory. 'It could be over; next fight will tell me. See u in a ring real soon.

'A decision has come from above. He told me son “lace up your gloves” your time as a boxer is not quite done, so go out there & have some fun.

'Despite the haters …I've had a good journey, truly am grateful for my blessing & give all praise to jah, god, universe. Rolling the dice!'

Paying the price: Harrison was sent to the canvas after just 82 seconds

Paying the price: Harrison was sent to the canvas after just 82 seconds

While Price was magnificent, the loss appeared certain to end the career of Harrison, who has become a figure of ridicule in boxing.

Writing in his boxing column earlier this month, Sportsmail's Jeff Powell had urged Harrison to call it a day.

'Audley Harrison, in a statement which gives full credit to David Price for Saturday’s knock out, says he is still thinking about whether to retire,' Powell said.

'For your own sake – at coming up 41 and coming out of hospital – don’t think about it for too long, Audley.'

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Sunderland sign Scott Harrison

Sunderland look to the future after signing former Darlington youngster Harrison

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 24 October 2012

Sunderland have signed former Darlington defender Scott Harrison.

The 19-year-old played 10 games for the non-league side last season.

Snapped up: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has signed Scott Harrison

Snapped up: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has signed Scott Harrison

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Serita Shone returns to bobsleigh after broken back

Shone takes a giant step back after horror crash

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UPDATED:

21:04 GMT, 13 October 2012

On Tuesday, Serita Shone will push a bobsleigh for the first time since she broke her back in a 70mph accident which doctors feared would leave her paralysed for life.

Her return may be confined to the dry push-start track at Bath University, but Shone's re-acquaintance with a bobsleigh symbolises the remarkable recovery she has made a year after her terrifying crash in Germany, where she was a novice brake-woman in a two-seater bobsled practicing for her first competition, at the British championships.

When driver Fiona Harrison lost control in the fastest sector of the Winterberg track and their bobsleigh overturned, Shone was slammed against the ice beneath the weight of the 175-kilogram sled where she lay motionless like a rag doll.

Comeback: British Bobsleigher Serita Shone

Comeback: British Bobsleigher Serita Shone

She had to be airlifted to Marburg
University where only the skills of a surgeon, who performed two
highly-complex operations on her spine five days apart, spared her from a
future spent in a wheelchair.

Yet every day since has been a challenge for the 23-year-old from Weymouth.

'I have tried to stay strong,' said
Shone last week. 'But I am not Superwoman. There have been times, really
dark days, when I felt I just couldn't go on. I felt I'd come so far,
but it wasn't far enough. It felt like I'd failed myself and let
everyone else down.'

So, the call she received five days
ago inviting her to Bath from Gary Anderson, the performance director of
the British bobsleigh team, was the kind of tonic unavailable on
prescription.

'I couldn't find the words to tell Gary how much it meant,' explained Shone.

Neither Anderson nor Shone are
deluding themselves that her appearance at the push-start track will
lead to her being able to fight for a place on the British team at the
2014 Winter OIympics in Sochi, Russia.

But is a start, at least. 'Before I
can tell myself I have beaten this injury, I need to get to the point
where I have finished a race,' said Shone.

'That to me is winning. Anything
after that will be a bonus.' Shone had only received medical clearance
to resume bob-specific training 12 days ago, when consultant spinal
surgeon Evan Davies reminded her on her last visit to see him at the
Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton: 'Do you realise how lucky you
are, Serita You should be paralysed.'

She confesses she barely slept for a week before that consultation. 'I had nightmares every night,' said Shone.

'The closer the appointment got the
more frightened I was. I couldn't picture with how I would deal with
being told I was unfit to return to the sport.'

Outwardly, Shone is vivacious, a
young woman with an insatiable appetite for adventure that is
undiminished by her traumatic experience.

Yet sometimes appearances can be deceptive. 'I should be grateful how things are going – and I am,' she said.

'I can lead a normal life, but what I
want is the opportunity to prove to people that I can still be an
athlete. It's what I want most. I genuinely don't know what the future
holds, but at least the news from my consultant, then the call from
Gary, has been just brilliant. I know it's the start of the next long
road, but at least it feels like leaving the dark and dingy road I have
been on behind me.'

She admits she reached out to
psychologists when the sequence of her rehabilitation programme
stretched ahead of her like a series of mountain peaks to be conquered
alone.

'It's not nice putting yourself in the firing line of failure every day,' said Shone.

'No matter what you are trying to
attempt you may not be fit enough, strong enough or capable enough. For
six months, I didn't fully understand what had happened. I shut
everything off. You become good at adapting a self-coping mechanism; and
I became very good over the last year at masking pain, and hiding my
inner emotions.

'To begin with I didn't think I
needed any psychological help. But when everyone else was getting
excited about the new season, it hit home that I might not be involved
and that everything could be over. I thought life was unfair as I had no
choice in the matter. I was struggling ….and I realised I couldn't do
this on my own anymore.'

In the earliest days she saw Amanda
Gatherer, then more recently consulted Tig Calvert at the intensive
rehab unit at Bisham Abbey.

'I do realise things can't get worse from here.'

Shone will continue to receive
financial support for her on-going rehabilitation from the British
bobsleigh team, and she makes a modest income from being an athlete
mentor visiting schools, or clubs.

'I am really thankful to the bobsleigh team, yet like most athletes I am on the look-out for sponsorship,' she said.

In this summer of extravagant
success for British sportsmen and women, Shone has a narrative to sell
that, within its own context, is just as inspirational: her courage,
dedication and a refusal to yield to the overwhelming odds stacked
against her reflect a woman with star quality. Shone has only to shut
her eyes to recapture of that terrible day of October 26, 2011.

'I remember I screwed up my eyes, gritted my teeth and hung on for grim death,' she said.

'The noise of my helmet clattering
against the track was like ice in a blending machine. I had a searing,
burning pain in my back. I could hear people coming towards me, their
ice spikes crunching along the track. I remember being told that medics
were on the way, and being asked if I knew my name.'

She smiled, 'I knew my name, I knew exactly what happened. I just couldn't move.'