David Price beats Audley Harrison with first-round knockout

By Ben DirsBBC Sport at Liverpool Echo Arena
David Price knocks out Audley Harrison
David Price knocks out Audley Harrison

David Price brought the curtain down on Audley Harrison's career with a devastating first-round knockout at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

In doing so Price, 29, defended his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles for the first time.

Harrison, 40, was wobbled by Price's first punch in anger, a chopping right hand, before the referee stepped in with Harrison helpless on the ropes.

Harrison toppled to the canvas with one minute and 22 seconds on the clock before being booed from the ring.

"I needed more rounds in order for people to see the best of me," said Price. "I frighten myself sometimes. I knew somebody would be at the end of a hiding.

"That finish would have knocked out anyone in the world. I soaked the pressure up and enjoyed it. I dealt with the pressure, no problem."

Price's next fight will be against former British, Commonwealth and European champion Matt Skelton, who enjoyed a second-round win over Croatian Jakov Gospic on the undercard, on 8 December.

While Price was widely expected to win, few expected Harrison, a former Olympic gold medallist and European champion, to fold so readily.

Harrison turned professional in 2001 but his repeated failures to deliver on his promises have led to him becoming a much criticised figure in Britain.

In 2010, the Londoner was knocked out in three rounds by David Haye having thrown only one punch, after which he was expected to retire.

However, he returned to beat Ali Adams in May and said he had rediscovered his love of boxing ahead of his meeting with Price.

But those comments proved to be unfounded and it must be hoped that Harrison is persuaded the time to hang up his gloves has come.

And while many in the capacity 8,000 crowd were clearly disappointed the fight ended so soon, that disappointment was tempered by the performance of their hometown hero, whose right hand is becoming a much-feared weapon.

The 6ft 8in Price, who won bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, improves to 14 wins from 14 fights, with 12 knockouts.

He won the titles with a fourth-round knockout of Sam Sexton in May and will be expected to make short work of Skelton, who is 45.

However, Skelton, who challenged Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA title in 2008, only losing on points, is likely to be made of sterner stuff than Harrison.

Skelton, a former kick-boxing world champion who only turned to boxing in his 30s, also holds wins over Danny Williams and Michael Sprott and has 28 wins from 34 professional fights.

A victory over Skelton might persuade Price's promoter Frank Maloney to move his charge to European level. Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria, who is currently unbeaten in 17 fights, is the European title-holder.

Meanwhile, Price's promoter Frank Maloney offered Manchester's Tyson Fury, who vacated the belts earlier this year, £500,000 to fight his charge.

"If Tyson Fury wants to fight then there's half a million on the table," said Maloney.

On the undercard, John Lewis Dickinson won the vacant British cruiserweight title with a unanimous points decision over Shane McPhilbin.

Liverpool's Kevin Satchell, in only his ninth fight, won the British and Commonwealth flyweight title with a sixth-round stoppage of the experienced Chris Edwards.


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