RCM Historical Boxing: Audley Harrison, TBI and the 2015 Comeback Which Never Was
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Sydney Olympic Games 2000 Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist Audley Harrison, training for a final comeback attempt in 2015 after two years out of the ring, retired for good due to the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which led to sight problems and mood swings.
Harrison, 31-7 with 23 knockouts, Park Royal, London, United Kingdom, who fought 17 televised bouts on BBC Sport, last appeared in April 2013, when he lost to future World Boxing Council World Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder at Sheffield Arena. Harrison the Prizefighter Tournament on March 23, 2013, defeating Claus Bertino, Martin Rogan, and Derric Rossy, at York Hall Bethnal Green, is his last solid appearance. Harrison also won the Prizefight Tournament in 2009, defeating Scott Belshaw, Danny Hughes, and Coleman Barrett.
Harrison, who fought between 2001 and 2013, held the European EBU Heavyweight title, and won three World Boxing Foundation World Heavyweight title bouts, a lesser-known organization. Harrison was stopped by David Haye in a bid to win the World Boxing Association World Heavyweight title. Harrison was also unsuccessful in attempts to win the BBBofC English and Commonwealth British Empire titles.
Harrison promoted himself until 2006, when Frank Warren took over, later Eddie Hearn. Though his self-promotion was not particularly successful for him, Harrison paved the way for Amir Khan, Anthony Joshua and others who followed to go a self-promotion route with boxing shows to enhance their careers. Harrison’s 70-second heavyweight loss to rising Olympic Bronze medalist Deontay Wilder in 2013 ended his career for good for all intents and purposes. It was a damaging loss from which he could not recover.
Harrison will turn 45 years old on October 26, 2021. Boxing in the United Kingdom will remember fighters from Randy Turpin to Anthony Joshua. Harrison’s name is not particularly memorable in the test of time. However, he was Great Britain’s first super heavyweight gold medalist. Harrison had the potential, but never achieved the pinnacle of success in the sport of boxing, and the lucrative heavyweight money at the top few heavyweights do. Harrison had his chances and motivation. Like some Olympic medalists and British rising stars, Harrison fell short. Harrison won rematches with Martin Rogan and Michael Sprott, and the EBU title, but could not beat world champion, David Haye.