Last evening we had 2 good live lineups of Heavyweight boxing from London and Liverpool, and both to me at least seemed sure bets of who would win these events. As I was later to be reminded, that this is heavyweight boxing, and anything really can happen.
Firstly David Price, the British unbeaten Heavyweight against Tony Thompson from the USA. On paper this looked like an obvious win for Price, but would also test the huge Liverpudlian against a durable opponent who has twice been in the ring with Wladamir Klitschko, once going the distance, and the latest fight with a KO lose to the Champion in the 6th round.
The pre fight hype was a bit controversial with Thompson being quoted as saying that boxers should be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs, and the boxing world on Twitter soon cut these comments to shred’s. I was one of them.
British heavyweight champion David Price’s next opponent Tony Thompson believes doping in sport should be legalised because “only the good guys are following the rules”. BBC Sport news
The fight was being built up beautifully by Boxnation all week and the near sell out crowd of 4,000 fight fans at The Echo Arena in Liverpool were in for a treat of top class Heavyweight action. Price was greeted by the fan’s to the tune of “You’ll never walk alone” and this set the tone by the crowd, who were also heard booing the American National Anthem. The first round seemed somewhat a slow start with both fighters pawing at each other with short quick jabs, and no big punches being thrown at this stage. Then in round 2 both men appeared a bit more settled and some punches were being thrown with more intent from Price, who had his man in the corner and unleashed a furious attack on Thompson. The American then fought his way out of the corner and defended well against the onslaught of Price as the crowd really got behind the local fighter. All of a sudden from nowhere Thompson let an overhand right go which connected to the back of Prices head, and down went the 6ft 8 fighter to be counted out as he tried to get back on his very wobbly legs. The fight was called off and the Echo Arena fell silent as Thompson paraded around the ring screaming at the audience in celebration at what he just did to Price. This was one of the biggest upsets of this year so far, and I am sure Tyson Fury will now be a busy man on Twitter!
In the after fight interview, David was his usual sportsman like figure, who accepted defeat in the way that only he can, with grace. I have read this morning that he received a perforated ear drum from the punch, which is why his balance completely let him down. Frank Maloney in the interview was calling for a rematch and how he will build Price up again , and I am hopeful this can and will happen. Both the Klitschko’s have been defeated early on in their careers, so let’s see David come back from this lose a better fighter.
Now onto Prizefighter from The York Hall Bethnal Green.
I am not a huge fan of the Prizefighter tournament, but have seen it grow over the past 3-4 years into a regular sell out bill which is very well promoted by Eddie Hearn from Matchroom Boxing Promotions & Sky Sports TV. This weekend we had International Heavyweight tournament from the world famous London fight venue, The York Hall Bethnal Green with Audley Harrison in the mix, as well as Martin Rogan from Ireland. This was the potential main event of the evening as the 2 fighters had previously met in the tournament with Harrison winning the title last time around. Rogan won his first fight comfortably and in the process his opponent was nearly thrown out of the ring and soon followed a technical knock out by Rogan. As did Harrison in what really was a perfectly timed knock out punch on Bertino who was dispatched from the tournament in probably a Prizefighter record of 38 seconds of the first round. This was certainly to be somewhat of a surprise to all pundits and fans in the venue or watching closely on TV, as Harrison actually appeared to want to step up to the challenge and box! Rogan and Harrison then came into the ring to face each other in the semi final, and both were not interested in appearing sportsman like, with BBBC and WBC referee Ian John Lewis giving a very animated set of instructions to both fighters to ensure that they knew he was the boss in the there, as this grudge match really did have the potential to boil over into something quite ugly. This incited the crowd even more, and we were all in for a real treat for the next 9 minutes of heavyweight boxing. From the off set Harrison looked very composed jabbing at Rogan and refusing to fight Rogan’s fight on the inside, which is where Rogan can smash Harrison with his trade mark upper cuts. in their second round Rogan began to shout at Harrison trying to bate him into making it a bar brawl and not a boxing match, and Harrison just kept his cool and concentrated on his boxing and defence. This was the first time that I have ever been impressed by Audley who came into the tournament the lightest weight he has been in the professional arena, and this approach really paid off as he was more than capable to move away from any big punches Rogan tried to produce. Harrison won this fight and in a very convincing way by a straight points victory and it looked at this point that Harrison might actually win the tournament once again. He was in the final against an already damaged Rossy from the semi final and Harrison just came out and boxed his opponent into submission in the second round after another terrific knock down. With this and his first quarter final fight, gave Harrison a very nice purse for the night’s work. £32,000 for the title holder and a new £2.000 bonus for each of the 2 knockouts.
I am just hopeful that this is not another ‘new dawn’ for Harrison as he has had way too many professional comebacks for mine and most fight fan’s liking. Time and time again he has let himself and the British fans down, but after seeing how he fought last night and coming in at the obviously perfect weight along with a mental attitude of self belief, is it really too late for ‘A’ force? I still think so…