By Mark Whalley
Boxing’s eternal optimist, Audley “A-Force” Harrison, has announced on Twitter that he has agreed to a fight with unbeaten American and former sparring partner Deontay Wilder on the undercard of the Amir Khan/Juan Diaz bout on April 27th.
No secrets in boxing eh!I have AGREED to take fight with 5 weeks notice. We’re close, hopefully weget there on all details. Nothing more
— Audley Harrison MBE (@audley_Harrison) March 25, 2013
Wilder’s promoters, Golden Boy, have yet to confirm the bout, but it is widely expected to get the go-ahead shortly.
Harrison was last in action back in February, when he won his second heavyweight Prizefighter tournament in impressive fashion.
However, Wilder represents an entirely different prospect from the fighters he dispatched that night.
Nicknamed “The Bronze Bomber”, Wilder is a 2008 Olympic bronze medallist (the only boxer to medal for the US in Beijing) with a perfect record of 27 wins from 27 fights.
More worrying for Harrison is the fact that every one of those wins has come via knockout. Wilder is a murderous puncher and none of his victims has even made it beyond the fourth round. Indeed, no fewer than 15 have been stopped in the first.
Given Harrison’s reputation for freezing when facing big punchers – he infamously threw one punch in three rounds against David Haye, and was savagely knocked out by David Price in the first round of their fight last year – there is a rather worrying prospect of A-Force getting seriously hurt.
However, he appears – on the face of things – to have shaken off many of the mental demons that have plagued him in recent years. He claims to be training with renewed vigour, and fighting without fear.
And whilst Wilder has some unbeaten fighters on his resumé, none of them come with the CV of Harrison.
Regardless of how fight fans, pundits, and the general public view Harrison’s career, his gold medal win is an outstanding achievement. At his best, he is a classy boxer with a good judge of range and a threatening left hand.
If he can use his ring smarts to negate Wilder’s power, he would expect to be able to outbox him with his experience.
That’s a huge “if”, though.