Boxing: Best of Harrison brings title home

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The Independent Online

They say the best thing you can do when you fall off a bike is to get right back on again. Scott Harrison put the philosophy to the test last night by insisting on an immediate rematch with the man who so stylishly unseated him as the World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion four months ago.

This time the return against the same man, the Mexican maestro Manuel Medina in the same ring at Glasgow's Braehead Arena, saw Harrison keep his balance beautifully and ride off with a regained crown after stopping Medina in the 11th round.

It was a far different performance from the pallid, imperfect display which cost him the title. He dominated from the start and the only falling last night was done by the Mexican. He was on the floor four times, once in the first, twice in the 10th and finally in the 11th, mainly from chopping right handers, before the champion's corner threw in the towel and the Spanish referee called the fight over after 32 seconds of the round.

It was an historic as well as a painfully brutal fight, with the 26-year-old Glaswegian not only becoming the first Briton to recapture a world featherweight title but the first Scot to regain a world championship at any weight. Medina, 32, so smooth and crafty last time, was given little opportunity to use his lateral movement, Harrison looking fitter and faster, cutting him off at the corners.

In July Medina had used his head mentally but last night he resorted to doing so physically, much to Harrison's fury. This was much more like the Harrison who gave Wayne McCullough a systematic going over and revenge can never have tasted sweeter even though it was laced with his own blood from a cut left eyebrow sustained in the fourth round following a head clash.

Harrison emulated Naseem Hamed by becoming one of the few to stop Medina in his 75 bouts. Hamed also did so in the 11th round. Understandably Harrison, who this time employed more effectively the left jab that was absent when they last met, was ecstatic in victory. "It was unbelievable. I am back and it's great to be world champion again,'' he said. "But what a warrior. He kept coming back at me and I thought 'What the hell have I got in front of me?' He was really tough. But I got the job done.''

He certainly did. It may not have been quite as easy as falling off a bike but at least the Scot has taken to the high road again.