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LIVE FROM RINGSIDE - PRIZEFIGHTER - HEAVYWEIGHTS 

Author: Michael Angelo Serra

 

image Prizefighter, The heavyweight's Part 3

Excel arena, Custom house, London, England

October 2nd 2009

In Barry Hearn's third installment of the Prizefighter heavyweight tournament, it seemed with the line up a case of repeat or revenge, with the two big names in the line up Audley Harrison and Danny Williams, who shared a win a piece looking to hopefully fight a third time over as many rounds, that's three by the way in a rubber match, that hopefully would erase the previous two meetings between the two, yeah I know these puns are getting bad aren't they!

It wasn't just the aforementioned two that had a score to settle, Pembroke's Scott Gammer was looking to exact revenge over the man whom relieved him of his British heavyweight title in the form of the current champion Danny Williams, as was Carl Baker who was looking for revenge over Gammer, there was certainly an air of redemption about this tournament, plus with the added incentive that Hearn had made the prize that bit more tempting, as he now added on another seven thousand pounds to the prizemoney making the grand total 32,000.

The show originally scheduled to take place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, had to be bought to the much larger Excel arena in London's Docklands due to public demand.

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Quarter final
Coleman Barrett {Ireland} v Scott Gammer {Wales}
Result: Barrett won points

In the show's opening fight Coleman Barrett who wasn't particularly considered that much of a threat, showed otherwise as he showed excellent hand speed as he continuously scored on the seemingly stronger but much slower Gammer {249lbs} who seemed to be loading up on his punches, and at every opportunity looked to end matters with a gunho attitude, meanwhile it was Barrett {223lbs} who doubled up his jab and piled up the points to take a comfortable decision, although the scores were identical on all three judges scorecards of 29-28, I felt that Barrett had clearly won every round and had it by a much wider margin than that of the three officials.

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Carl Baker {Sheffield} v Danny Williams {Brixton}
Result: Baker won points

It was believed that Williams would brush aside Sheffield's Baker with out much trouble and be in the final against arch rival Audley Harrison, the villain of the piece.

Thing is Baker showed why prizefighter and boxing are such a great combination as the element of surprise often rears it's head.

In the opener Williams, the current British heavyweight champion was in trouble as early as the opener from a right hook that landed to Danny's head which had the desired effect as Williams legs were turned to jelly just before he took a count, up at "three" Williams still looking unsteady was given the benefit of the doubt as Ref O'Connor gave Danny every chance to regroup and try to survive, another salvo of shots from Baker {287lbs} had Williams down again, a series of clubbing punches had him down this time for a count of "six" Williams {263lbs} was looking wobbly even when he got to his haunches and it was alarming the way Danny sadly seems to have lost his punch resistance.
Williams went down again in the opener but this time it was ruled a slip, I thought it was a legitimate knockdown myself but luckily for Danny, O'Connor thought otherwise.

The second and third were rather contrasting as Baker continued his success in the second and wobbled Danny badly again and paying a visit to the mat a fourth time, yet again O'Connor seemed to make a charitable donation in favour of Williams as he ruled it a slip, yet again I felt a punch landed and it was a legitimate knockdown, however the Brixton man was pushing his shots and trying to fight his way back, this he did in the final stanza as Baker seemed through his earlier output had punched himself out and Danny mounted a comeback of sorts as the Sheffield man gasped for air, as did Williams at the bell, it seemed the last ditch effort just wasn't enough as Baker ran out a well deserved points winner, scores were 29-26, 28-26 and 28-27 in favour of Carl.
Although there since as been a board inquiry Williams has been allowed to keep his British title and is fighting at the end of the month.

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Audley Harrison {Wembley} v Scott Bellshaw {Ireland}
Result: Harrison won rsc 2nd

So the return of Audley Harrison, a welcome return but not welcomed from the majority of those in attendance as Audley was met with a chorus of boo's against the giant Irishman Belshaw, himself coming off of a stoppage loss to English champion Tyson Fury back in May.
Harrison did very little to instill confidence into his greatest of critics, the British public has he showed very little work rate, Belshaw {247lbs} however took the inactive as Harrison seemed to rely on pot luck with the big shot, however luckily for Harrison {252lbs} it paid off, a straight left dumped the Irishman for a count of "six" in the opener, but instead of trying to finish it there and then Harrison reluctantly let Bellshaw off the hook, so to the second and it was pretty much a carbon copy of the previous session as Harrison looked apprehensive and a little gun shy, again a booming straight left paid dividends as it made the beanpole Bellshaw sink to the canvas a second time in as many rounds, just before the gong arising at "nine" third man Dave Parris had clearly seen enough and quite rightfully waved it over.

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Danny Hughes {Sunderland} v Neil Perkins {Birmingham}
Result: Hughes won rsc 1st

In the final of the quarter finals Danny Hughes proved too strong for Birmingham's Neil Perkins, Hughes {263lbs} took the fight to the smaller Perkins, backing him up before detonating a crunching right off of the Midlander's chin that sent Perkins {231lbs} crashing to the deck for a count of "seven"

Doing well to get up, Perkins looked all at sea and referee Mcdonnell rightfully called it off at forty five seconds of the opener.

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Semi finals

Coleman Barrett {Ireland} v Carl Baker {Sheffield}
Result: Barrett won points

So the battle of the giant killers in this the opening semi final, a battle of southpaws Baker got off to a better start clearly the bigger puncher but seemed to be lacking any puff, as Barrett started to get into the fight and began to take the fight to his English counterpart as Baker noticeably tired as Barrett was bridging the points deficit as he exploded with little assaults on the inside also punctuating his latter rounds dominance with a big right uppercut, the later rounds surge seemed to swing it in the Irishman's favour and this showed in the identical scores of 29-28.

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Audley Harrison {Wembley} v Danny Hughes {Sunderland}
Result: Harrison won points

In the second semi final, Hughes came out pressuring Audley, which was a good sign.
Harrison finally had to work a little more so, due to Hughes busy style as he moved in and out on Harrison, who yet again seemed far too apprehensive, almost as if he was expecting to get hurt if he dared get into close or engage Hughes in a brawl, Hughes for me took the opener easily.

In the second Harrison sensed he was a round down and obviously needed to try and pull a round back, as he began to utilise his jab more so, one left hand landed to Hughes body, but his leg slid from underneath his portly frame and ref O'Connor correctly ruled it a slip.

Hughes retaliated as such landing to Harrison's head with counters, and in effect returned the compliment as Harrison fell to all fours, again it was ruled a slip.

The third saw Hughes come out trying to win the final session big, however due to Danny's over eagerness his work was rather sloppy as he slapped with his punches, his caution to the wind style ended up being his undoing as he walked smack onto a straight left that Audley smashed onto the onrushing Hughes who sagged to the canvas, getting up Hughes survived and it seemed that the very knockdown cost Hughes his chance of a place in the final.

This was reflected in the scorecards, as Harrison was awarded the decision by scores of 30-26, 29-27 and 29-28, I agreed with the final score line as opposed to the first two.

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Final

Audley Harrison {Wembley} v Coleman Barrett {Ireland}
Result: Harrison won rsc 2nd

So to the final, and the Irishman looked to have gained hugely in confidence even trying to intimidate Audley during the introductions.
In the opener Harrison reverted back to type as he looked to load up on the one punch finish, Barrett got on with the job in hand as he continuously got home with little attacks even backing up Harrison, before landing in close on the Londoner with a series of uppercuts and hooks, Harrison offered little back in the form of his jab.

It appeared Barrett was well ahead, but one thing I noticed was how dangerously low Barrett was holding his right hand, naturally Harrison capitalised on this and landed a big right, followed by the straight left that smashed against the Irishman's chin and made him slide down the ropes, getting up Barrett was badly dazed and in no position to continue as referee Dave Parris ruled the fight over stopping it at 2:40 of the round.

So Audley Harrison is the prizefighter champion, and is now talking of a World title shot, and what with now joining forces with Barry Hearn whose to say it won't happen.

Many skeptics will point out that winning this tournament against a bunch of rather inexperienced opponents has done very little to shut up the critics, who are many in regard to Audley's World championship pretensions.
Harrison will need to show more than this in future if he is to mix in World class, and over the longer distance, next up could be a shot at Sam Sexton or possibly a European title fight against the winner of Paulo Vidoz and Albert Sosnowski.

That remains to be seen, but one things for sure Audley is most certainly a prize guy as he donated the trophy to raise money for Michael Sprott's family, when Michael sadly lost his sister, an action that show's the kind of man Audley is, enough said!