Boxing: Harrison alert to dangers of facing unknown opponent

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The Independent Online

Last year Scott Harrison lost his world title because he prepared for one fight and on the night failed to adapt to a totally different fight.

Thankfully, Harrison managed to get a rematch against Mexico's Manuel Medina, and when they met for a second time Harrison won in 11 rounds because he entered the ring with two plans instead of one.

Tonight at the Braehead Arena, on the outskirts of Glasgow, Harrison will need to be versatile in his thinking because his latest challenger is an unknown quantity, and anonymous fighters are often the most difficult to beat.

Harrison was due to defend his World Boxing Organisation featherweight title against the American-based Armenian William Abelyan, but eight days ago that fight fell through and the Scotsman was hastily matched with Colombia's Walter Estrada.

Nobody, especially not a reigning world champion, enjoys having opponents switched on him, but the reasoning behind selecting Estrada, who has lost just twice in 28 fights, is that like Abelyan he is also a south paw, and Harrison's preparations have been with that sort of fighter in mind.

Estrada enters the fight with a disturbingly high number of quick wins on his record. He has never been stopped and has never really mixed with world-class opposition, but that is about all Harrison knows about him.

"In an ideal world I would have more time to prepare for a defence and I would certainly like to know a lot more about him, but I am a champion now and I would certainly never avoid anybody," Harrison said.

It will, in theory, be the last time that Harrison fights at the Braehead Arena because there are plans for some type of unification fight at an outdoor venue in Glasgow later this year.

Assuming that Estrada is nothing more than a capable, durable and willing opponent, then there appears to be little chance that Harrison will lose his title. However, some of the best fighters to visit Britain in recent years have arrived in anonymity with decent, but not spectacular, records, and on their night have upset the odds and left with a British fighter's world championship belt. Harrison is aware of the dangers but is too professional to make any mistakes.