Heavyweight David Price on learning from loss, his comeback and Tyson Fury

“I don’t like this myth that I’m a fucking head case!”

Wisdom oft proves an elusive asset. Remaining invisible to subjects unwilling or unable to recognise and embrace the lessons life uses to swaddle it in. These lessons are typically more conspicuous, more tangible, in the loneliness of failure, when your senses are exposed, when life, or, in a heavyweight prizefighter’s case, a seventeen stone opponent, has knocked you down and stripped you of much of what you thought you were. If you pause long enough in that stillness, when the roar of the crowd fades and the platitudes and sycophants dissolve in to the night, wisdom can come flooding forth.

In conversation with former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion David Price, I was struck by how much more content and at ease he sounded following a period of soul searching in the aftermath of his stoppage defeat to Christian Hammer in February. He confesses, he contemplated retirement. Continue reading “Heavyweight David Price on learning from loss, his comeback and Tyson Fury”

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Colin McMillan: The man who defied convention

First published in Knockout London

The tassels dance; folding, bouncing and exaggerating the rhythm of his purposeful, often balletic movement. Pristine white boots travel distances measured in fractions of inches, from arm’s length to harm’s length. Mesmerising hesitant opponents, rendering them inert with speed, and precision, with timing and the bluff of feints and counter punches.

His hands act as gloved rapiers, his brain analysing, identifying weakness, processing the opponents’ ‘tells’. Busy too, these assessments done instantly, conclusions drawn, punches selected to capitalise are thrown naturally, the switch from offence to defence and back again is fluid, instinctive.

This isn’t the best of Sugar Ray Leonard or a delve into the prime of Muhammad Ali, but an attempt to capture the beauty and brilliance of a British Featherweight, a forgotten jewel, Colin ‘Sweet C’ McMillan. Continue reading “Colin McMillan: The man who defied convention”

Audley Harrison. The importance of the man who wouldn’t be King.

Photo: Dave Shopland

Lennox Lewis strode, languidly down the aisle,. The glow of certainty and phosphorous bulbs surrounding him. Assurance screamed silently from his tall, imposing frame.  That famous stillness, the type which led him to sleep in the dressing room before a big fight,  serving to multiply the latent power beneath.

Lewis the lion, on a high rock stealing shade behind dark glasses and verifying the significance of proceedings merely by being present. Continue reading “Audley Harrison. The importance of the man who wouldn’t be King.”

Boxing: Tyson Fury career lightest at 245 pounds

If Tyson Fury is to be taken seriously as a heavyweight contender it is always implied that it will only happen when he adds stamina to his natural gifts of hand-speed, confidence, height and gumption. The latter he has already demonstrated in abundance. The pre-amble to his fight with Martin Rogan has centered on two things, Fury’s Irishness and his claim to the ‘crowd’ at the Belfast event and bold proclamations about previously unheralded fitness for his clash with the 40-year-old veteran. Weighing in at a lean 17 stone 7 pounds 12 ounces, or 245 pounds to our American cousins, Fury suggests he has employed some much needed discipline in preparation for this Irish Heavyweight title clash. Continue reading “Boxing: Tyson Fury career lightest at 245 pounds”

Boxing: Its unofficial, Haye v Harrison is on

Now some would say I know precious little about boxing, others are less flattering, but one thing I do know for certain is – it takes two to make a fight. By my reckoning, and with some reliance on my Casio fx-100c, I am able to announce the inevitability of a clash between David Haye and irksome veteran Audley Harrison later this year. This isn’t based upon any inside knowledge, just the inescapable truth that all other roads are now closed for Haye. Continue reading “Boxing: Its unofficial, Haye v Harrison is on”

Boxing: Vitali Klitschko to fight Shannon Briggs, the prosecution rests

I wrote recently in at least partial defence of the brothers Klitschko. Excusing some of their benevolent matchmaking as the inevitable by-product of their misfortune of being resident in arguably the weakest era in living memory. Following on with the theme of that piece, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the announcement by Shannon Briggs that he will suspend his acting career long enough to tackle Klitschko the elder in Germany in October. Thankfully, Briggs can punch. Because he brings no other discernible form or currency to the match. Continue reading “Boxing: Vitali Klitschko to fight Shannon Briggs, the prosecution rests”

Boxing: Harrison v Haye – why it should happen

Despite David Haye’s protestations to the contrary the prospect of this unlikely heavyweight prizefight remains the talking point of the day in the dungeons of the internet’s boxing forums. Audley Harrison has, afterall, already sacrificed the European title in the belief that he will secure the all-British world heavyweight title fight he and television network Sky Sports appear to crave. Debuting his guest column, John Cascells reflects on the fight; why it may prove to be more challenging than the cynics presume and why he is sure it will make for must-see television. Continue reading “Boxing: Harrison v Haye – why it should happen”

Boxing: Long and winding road. Six years since the BBC dumped Audley

Precious few heavyweights polarise opinion in the way Audley Harrison does. Maybe that is part of the fascination with him. Maybe that enigmatic quality is what draws observers back to the story despite a series of tame defeats to mediocre fighters. The Mona Lisa is neither the most beautiful subject nor the most technically perfect painting but it endures as the most famous artwork in history (arguably) because of the interpretation her expression is open to. It isn’t definite. It has depth beyond the brush strokes da Vinci swabbed across the canvas. Much like Harrison, who has conjured few moments of brilliance during his own career on the canvas and yet holds a depth of fascination few others can match. However, despite the critics and the years completed since his first low point of being dropped by the BBC he is on the brink of the title shot he told us all along he would get to. Continue reading “Boxing: Long and winding road. Six years since the BBC dumped Audley”

Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?

It was meant to be different. That was the tag-line. The sedentary waters of the heavyweight division were to be purified. David Haye wanted to fight the best heavyweights straight away, he didn’t want to procrastinate, to manoeuvre. He just wanted to know if he was the best, prove it or fail. Money was secondary. Challenge was everything. Boxing’s downtrodden masses craved the Utopia Haye was selling. He evangelised about bypassing promoters, side-stepping sanctioning bodies and the established order. Boxing is about the fighters not men in suits he might have said. He founded this alternate reality. Hayemaker. Fighters flocked to his rallying cry. Pretty girls flushed, forums hummed, fans cheered. Now, with a portion of the establishment in his possession – the WBA belt – and an unexpected level of renown that now enables him to accumulate £1-3 million pay-days for the type of rudimentary defence he once denounced, the urge to corner a Klitschko in a ring, or even at the top of an elevator has evidently subsided.

Continue reading “Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?”

Harrison, Haye and Klitschko. Among the madness, bluff and silence is there a fight to be found?

In an era before nutritionists, public relations and conditioners, during that simplistic period when heavyweights ran, hit-bag, sparred, chopped wood and often took a stiff drink or three the night before a fight it is hard to imagine how they would have viewed the flimsy media battle being contested by heavyweight trio David Haye, Klitschko and heaven help us Audley Harrison. It may be nostalgic romanticism to suggest fighters like Jack Dempsey or Jim Jeffries simply signed to fight an opponent, trained and then settled it in an often gruelling, unforgiving fight, but it is with some confidence that I propose they wouldn’t have been comfortable with the shallow misinformation all parties appear to be peddling even if avoiding opponents is an oft-overlooked aspect of boxing at the beginning of the 20th century too. Continue reading “Harrison, Haye and Klitschko. Among the madness, bluff and silence is there a fight to be found?”

Feted, hated, fated? Is Audley stepping closer to defining Haye fight?

There has been something of the David Icke about Audley Harrison throughout his decade as a prominent heavyweight. Fuelled and demonstrated by a paradoxical cocktail of delusion, acute self-awareness and paranoia. Qualities which ostracised him from the boxing public and allowed the media to portray him as the villain, the idiot and the clown in his own one-man pantomime. But like all cabaret shows, it aint over til the fat lady sings and maybe, just maybe, said fat lady is back stage sipping honey and lemon as talk of a Harrison v Haye contest gathers pace.  Continue reading “Feted, hated, fated? Is Audley stepping closer to defining Haye fight?”

Tyson Fury; treading a fine line with fans

tightrope-walkingLike many who have witnessed his open three engagements, I’ve warmed to Tyson Fury – he’s seemed confident but sincere, ambitious but eager to learn. Hennessy Sports matchmaking has been encouraging and his name and story help garner him a disproportionate amount of exposure. However, like Audley, Amir and Eubank before him it is easy to see his youthful mischief turning into unlikeable arrogance if he’s not careful. David Price, who debuts this weekend, is inevitably his latest target. Continue reading “Tyson Fury; treading a fine line with fans”

Lamon Brewster wants Marty Rogan next!

oldglovesNow I’m not a regular over at Eastside Boxing, but young James Slater is a dedicated servant to the site and now and then puts together some interesting thoughts. A recent interview with Lamon Brewster – another of my favoured fighters – provided further evidence of just how far the big Irishman has come. The former two time world-title belt holder is eager to move from Michael Sprott to the current darling of the British fight scene. Continue reading “Lamon Brewster wants Marty Rogan next!”

Haye, Apollo Creed, Lennox, Rocky and Audley; the truth

AudleyIt is hard to evaluate Audley Harrison either as a fighter or an individual. I don’t know the man, I shook hands with him once and I worked for his website for a while but I don’t really know him. As a fighter he has failed to live up to his claims or supposed potential. Not even the most vehement Audley supporter – and there are precious few of those remaining – could claim otherwise.  Now, at the grand old age of 37, with a humiliating loss to Martin Rogan in his last appearance in front of a booing crowd, Harrison has sunk to digging up camp stories from 2006 in a bid to tempt David Haye into a marking-time fight. Aside from saying “Big Issue” on a street corner or entering the Big Brother house I don’t believe the once favourite son of British Boxing can fall further. Continue reading “Haye, Apollo Creed, Lennox, Rocky and Audley; the truth”

Save the last dance for me; Haye’s search for a partner drifts on

They say, whoever they are, that in matters of the heart the chase is all part of the thrill. I’m not sure whether the notion could be extended to finding 250-pound men with a glint in their eye, I suppose it depends on your proclivities. However, David Haye’s quest to find a “top-10” heavyweight contender to knockout, as he assumes he will, in November has proven about as easy as platting fog. It began with rumours of Hasim Rahman or Andrew Golota but is now much further down the heavyweight barrel. Continue reading “Save the last dance for me; Haye’s search for a partner drifts on”

Sexton wins Prizefighter 2; is it really drawing new fans?

Always enlightening to watch an event like this with those not keenly interested in the sport. Spend too much time on Internet forums and it is entirely possible to succumb to the assumption EVERYONE is interested in boxing. Of course they are not. An evening at my old local, The Windmill in the former coal-mining town of Thorne near Doncaster, reintroduced me to this harsh reality, it left me wondering whether this supposedly fan-friendly concept really could attract new fans? Continue reading “Sexton wins Prizefighter 2; is it really drawing new fans?”

Boxing: Frank Maloney’s cold-shower for Belshaw’s prospects

Every press release I’ve read about big Scott Belshaw has been doused heavily in salt. Frank Maloney is a wise old hand at generating attention for his fighters and he’s used every reference possible to project Belshaw as a raw puncher with a big future. Last week Belshaw was calling out Audley Harrison, who for all his vulnerability and idiosyncrasies, would walk through Belshaw in less than a minute. Yes, that Audley. Continue reading “Boxing: Frank Maloney’s cold-shower for Belshaw’s prospects”

Setanta, Skywalker and Bunce; Boxing’s New Hope

Watching Steve Bunce’s Boxing Hour last night on Setanta Sports 2 I was struck by a number of things. Firstly, how good it is to see a magazine show for the sport where debate, discussion are preeminent over the gloss Sky once applied to their weekly Ringside presentation. True, big Buncey isn’t to everyone’s taste and it took me a while to ‘get’ his role, persona and style, to understand that enthusiasm and energy were his selling points and that he had his tongue firmly in his cheek. But I do now and it works. A boxing night isn’t the same without his animated contribution. But the Setanta hour is more than just Bunce let loose. Continue reading “Setanta, Skywalker and Bunce; Boxing’s New Hope”

Audley, Audley, Audley

Love him, hate him, ignore him, beat him, write him off, mock him, chastise him, heck, tie an anvil to each ankle and drop him in the Thames. It wouldn’t matter, Big Audley would still be believing, still fighting, still chasing the dream. I’m beginning to think Harrison has special powers, the hide of a Rhino, the defiance of the Black Knight and will of Arnie’s Terminator.  Despite being jeered to and from the ring, despite failing to overwhelm a man he outweighed by 3 stone and despite the proximity of his 37th birthday, Audley will not give up. Continue reading “Audley, Audley, Audley”

Video: Amir Khan mimicks Judah’s ‘chicken dance’

Seeing Amir Khan laid out like a flat-packed bookcase on Saturday, with his head propped against the ring post in the style of a teenager watching Batman re-runs on the portable reminded me of one of the first times he came to the public’s attention. Coincidentally, he was mimicking the Zab Judah inspired ‘chicken’ dance he show-cased when hit by a Prescott punch on Saturday following a less formidable left-hook from Craig Watson back in the Amateurs. Continue reading “Video: Amir Khan mimicks Judah’s ‘chicken dance’”

Audley Harrison and the search for a foe

It isn’t Audley Harrison’s fault Martin Rogan has been forced to withdraw at the eleventh hour but there is an air of inevitability about the doom and gloom surrounding Harrison’s attempt at a comeback. Harrison cannot complain of his misfortune too much, he’s a wealthy man who has lost every fight of meaning in his professional career and aged 36 is very fortunate to be afforded the attention he still attracts. Continue reading “Audley Harrison and the search for a foe”

Big Danny Williams victorious in up and downer in Spain

kiplingCongratulations must go to gutsy, no sniggering at the back, London heavyweight Danny Williams tonight following his 7th round stoppage victory over the previously unbeaten Konstantin Airich in Bilbao. Williams, up lifts his ledger to 39-6 (31 Ko’s) with the win continues to build some momentum despite fluctuating weight suggesting ebbing motivation, he scaled 267 pounds for this encounter. Continue reading “Big Danny Williams victorious in up and downer in Spain”

‘You never know when a fight may be your last.’

AudleyI will always remember the first interview of substance conducted with Ricky Hatton and his father, Ray, at the beginning of their bitter divorce from promoter Frank Warren. Expressing their frustration at the stagnation that preceded Hatton’s seminal contest with Kostya Tszyu, Ray Hatton opined “Every fight from now on will be a big one, because you never know when a fight may be your last”, well words to that effect anyway. 

Continue reading “‘You never know when a fight may be your last.’”

Boxing: Scott Gammar Scores Comprehensive Victory

GammarGammarTough Welsh heavyweight Scott Gammar got his career back on the rails over the weekend overpowering busy trier Paul King, a late-replacement for a replacement, to score a six round points win. Predictable enough result and a performance designed purely to add a W to the record of the former British champion following his defeat to Danny Williams. I’d certainly assume Gammar isn’t booked to learn much from circuit veteran King. Reports suggest he opted to use the whole six round work out rather than close the show.

Continue reading “Boxing: Scott Gammar Scores Comprehensive Victory”

Archive: Big Fight Live – Boxing returns to ITV

nEWBON15/07/2005

As the first contract between British broadcaster ITV and promoter Frank Warren draws to a close and negotiations begin on a new contract, it seemed relevant to pause and remember how the news ITV were to return to professional boxing was greeted. In an article for thesweetscience.com, I took an optimistic view of the partnership’s potential and revelled in the nostalgia of hearing that famous theme tune one more time. As Nigel Benn once famously said “I preferred boxing when it was on ITV”. Continue reading “Archive: Big Fight Live – Boxing returns to ITV”

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