Scott Harrison 'nearly ready to be world champion again'

Scott Harrison has targetted becoming world champion again in September after the Scot ends his six-year absence from the boxing ring on 31 March.

The 34-year-old former featherweight champion has announced his return to the sport at Blackpool's Winter Garden against an as yet unnamed opponent.

"A couple of fights to get rid of the ring rust and I'll be ready," said Harrison. "It is a lot to ask.

"But I feel 100% it is going to happen that I will be world champion."

Harrison beat Victor Santiago to become WBO featherweight champion in 2002 and regained the title from Manuel Medina after losing it to the same opponent.

But the Scotsman pulled out of a title defence in 2006, checked into the Priory Clinic in London citing problems with depression and alcohol and was later stripped of his title, lost his licence to box and was declared bankrupt.

Harrison was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in April 2009 after being found guilty of attempting to steal a car and assaulting two men in the vehicle as well as a policeman in October 2006.

"At the end of the day, I've been through a lot," he told BBC Scotland. "A lot of stories have been in the papers about us, a lot of things have happened, I've lost a lot of things, but I've gained a lot of things as well.

"I've got my new fiancee, my new son, Jack. So, for me, life is good. I've got my boxing licence back and, within four weeks, I will be fighting again.

"I am very focussed, very motivated, very hungry and I'm up for the challenge. It is a big challenge to come back and win the world title again after being suspended for five years.

"I'm feeling good. These days, I'm living a lot better than I did in my 20s, when I was world champion. I feel fitter, I feel a lot sharper, I'm very focussed.

"I will be a lot more dangerous, because a hungry fighter is a dangerous fighter."

Harrison said he trusted manager Frank Maloney's decision to hold his first fight in Blackpool rather than back home in Glasgow and rejected competing claims for handling his future.

"I've only got one contract and that's Frank Maloney," he said. "I had a contract with Frank Warren in the past, but obviously that contract is invalid.

"I will be fighting on 31 March then June and I would like to fight for the world title in September.

"I think, by then, I will be ready. That would be super-featherweight, probably here in Glasgow, but I don't know yet."

Former world champion Jim Watt has suggested a fight between Harrison and current WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns would be a crowd pleaser.

"Ricky Burns is boxing well, he is world champion," added Harrison.

"I have not got much to say about Ricky Burns. I wish him all the best and maybe we will fight one day down the line if he's still world champion.

"My plan right now is to fight at 9st 4lbs, win the world title and then move up to lightweight.

"But, of course, if Ricky Burns wants the fight, I would fight him no problem. I think it would be a good fight for the Scottish fans."