Audley Harrison's hopes of a 12th professional win were put on hold yesterday when the Australian Anthony Mundine fell ill.
The British Olympic champion was scheduled to fight Australian Colin Wilson in the chief support slot to the World Boxing Association super middleweight title fight between Mundine and the American Antwun Echols.
But Mundine, a former rugby league player, was yesterday diagnosed with the virus which is currently sweeping Sydney. Harrison is uncertain whether he can make the rescheduled date of 3 September, having already lined up commitments in the United States, where he has some "real exciting developments occurring".
Harrison flew into Australia from Las Vegas, where he began his preparations by sparring with former International Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov.
Harrison had some sympathy for Mundine, though admitted the situation was far from ideal. "I'm obviously disappointed. I was looking forward to performing in front of the Australian fans who have given me a great response since I've been here," he said. "But if I was the main event and fighting the No 1 contender, then I suppose I would want to make sure I was 100 per cent."
Missing out on his second bout outside the United Kingdom has hit Harrison hard in the pocket given the expense of decamping in Australia. But he plans to return to the city of his finest hour - in the 2000 Olympics - on his own promotion later in the year. He will return briefly to England before heading back to the USA.
* Lennox Lewis told Vitali Klitschko's promoter yesterday that there will be no rematch between the two heavyweights for the WBA title this year. There had been talk of Lewis meeting the Ukrainian again on 6 December, possibly in Madison Square Garden, after his win on 21 June in Los Angeles. Klitschko's promoter, Klaus-Peter Kohl, said Lewis told him he would not have time to train for a December fight.Reuse content