Audley Harrison MBE is a retired British professional boxer from Harlesden, England who fought in the heavyweight division. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney he became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in the superheavyweight division.
Harrison turned professional 2001 after signing a contract with BBC Sport. Harrison had 17 fights on the network before BBC Sport pulled all boxing from their programming.
In October 2009, he won the Prizefighter tournament. He became European heavyweight champion after knocking out Michael Sprott in April 2010. In February 2013, Harrison won the Prizefighter tournament for the second time becoming the first fighter to do so.
Boxing out of Repton Amateur Boxing Club in Bethnal Green, London, Harrison became British super heavyweight champion in 1997, defeating Nick Kendall in the final. He retained the title in 1998, defeating Dean Redmond, and won Gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games beating Michael Macquae of Mauritius in the final. In 2000 he won Gold at the Sydney Olympics by defeating Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov of Kazakhstan on points. After his medal win, Harrison was awarded an MBE. In 2001, Harrison released his autobiography Realising the Dream and set up his own company, A Force Promotions, to manage his career and concluded several high profile sponsorships deals and became the first boxer in Britain to sign a direct broadcast deal.
is debut was against US club fighter Michael Middleton, whom Harrison knocked out in the first round in Wembley Arena with 6 million viewers watching at home. He was then out of action for several months with an injury, but by the end of the year outpointed Briton Derek McCafferty over six rounds.
Harrison relocated to the USA where he was unbeaten in 11 fights, with 8 knockouts. In the 2003 November issue of the Ring Magazine, Harrison was tipped to emulate Lennox Lewis and become a dominant world champion. He had three more fights in 2003, against tough Lisandro Diaz, Quinn Navarre and Brian Nix in America. Harrison was sparring regularly with experienced world class Heavyweights like Vaughn Bean.
Harrison returned to the UK in 2004, but instead of fighting new British champion Michael Sprott for the British title, he fought unbeaten Dutch fighter Richel Hersisia for the World Boxing Foundation World belt. He knocked out Hersisia in 4 rounds. He defended the title twice: a 12 round points win over late-sub Julius Francis, and a 9th round TKO of unbeaten Tomasz Bonin. After suffering a serious ligament tear in his left hand requiring hand surgery in New York, Harrison did not fight for almost a year.
On 8 June 2010, Harrison vacated his European title, announcing his intention of getting a world title shot. He began negotiations with Hayemaker Promotions soon after, which culminated in a world-title fight in the M.E.N. Arena against WBA champion David Haye on 13 November 2010.
On 15 November 2011, during an interview on BBC Breakfast following his departure from Strictly Come Dancing, Harrison announced that he would return to boxing for one last time saying that “It could be over, but I just need to go and check.” He stated that his intention was to fight British Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury in 2012. Audley also came second in UK Celebrity Big Brother last year.
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