Audley's not finished
Audley Harrison told Ringside why he deserves one more chance to fight for a world title.
Last Updated: 28/10/11 12:13pm
Audley Harrison told Ringside why he deserves one more chance to fight for the world heavyweight championship.
The 40-year-old, who made his name by winning gold at the 2000 Olympics, has not stepped in a ring since his humiliating third-round knock-out at the hands of David Haye last November and has most recently been seen appearing on the BBC reality TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
However, he has never officially called time on his boxing career and says he still harbours hopes of returning to the ring and realising his dream of becoming a world champion.
And he identified British and Commonwealth champion Tyson Fury as a potential stepping stone towards a fight with either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko.
He said: "Even though I'm hitting 40 and I've got injuries, I still want to go back to boxing and give it one more shot - and I think I deserve that. I've had some shockers, but I've also had some highs.
"The dearth at the top level is so bad and the Klitschkos are so desperately looking for challengers. If I fought Tyson Fury for the British and Commonwealth, that one victory potentially could get me back to a world title shot.
"That's how open it is. It's one fight. I want the biggest risk for the biggest reward and I think I deserve that.
"I've had a lot of good nights and I've had some bad nights, but I really don't want that David Haye fight to be my lasting legacy."
Harrison only landed a single punch during his fight with Haye, leading to huge criticism from the press and public and the BBBC withholding some of his purse while an investigation was carried out.
He blamed his lacklustre performance on a pectoral injury that hampered his training and insists he went into the ring with Haye against medical advice.
And he also feels the referee should have let him fight on because he would rather have been knocked out than stopped on the biggest night of his career.
"My mission was to be a world champion and I definitely believe the referee stopped the fight too early," he said.
"I would have preferred to be knocked out in the ring and taken out on a stretcher because you recover.
"Obviously what the public got, of course they were cheated. They wanted to see a fight for the championship of the world. They don't care that I've done the whole training camp with one arm.
"Obviously I'm in a situation now where there's no forgiveness for Audley Harrison. He's shot. He's finished.
"But the reason why I want to come back to boxing and give it one more shot is because the David Haye fight is not an indication of what I have left."
Harrison insists if the fight had continued he could have shown what he could do - and his sense of injustice is now driving him on to return to the ring and prove his doubters wrong.
"I didn't take that fight just for a pay day," he added.
"I wanted to go out on my shield, I didn't want to get stopped. Although I looked terrible in there and I looked like I was all over the place, at some point in that fight I would have found myself.
"At any point in the fight it could have turned around and I didn't want to jump out. I would have preferred to have been knocked out in there, knocked down several times.
"I looked all over the place, but they shouldn't have rescued me. It was for the championship of the world.
"I want another shot, my final shot. If I lose, if I get injuries I'm done."