Boxing: Lewis heaps praise on Harrison

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The Independent Online

As expected Richel Hersisia lost his World Boxing Foundation heavyweight title to Audley Harrison here on Saturday night. Not long after Hersisia had regained his feet from a fourth-round knock-out, Harrison was defending his selection of the beaten Dutchman. Harrison had a good deal of support from his co-promoter on Saturday night, Lennox Lewis.

As expected Richel Hersisia lost his World Boxing Foundation heavyweight title to Audley Harrison here on Saturday night. Not long after Hersisia had regained his feet from a fourth-round knock-out, Harrison was defending his selection of the beaten Dutchman. Harrison had a good deal of support from his co-promoter on Saturday night, Lennox Lewis.

"I did what I needed to do and when I had to do it and that is exactly what I have been doing in my career," Harrison said. Lewis went slightly further when he said that he had seen Superman, which led one cynical hack to suggest that he must have spotted the "man in lycra" before he entered Wembley Arena.

Now Harrison must make the most important decisions of his career so far because what Saturday night's fight did, without any question, is establish Harrison as the best of the leading pack of contenders.

Harrison not only picked Hersisia apart but he finished the fight with a flurry of accurate and brilliant punches. Lewis was not exaggerating when he said that he doubted there is another heavyweight that could have put the same theories together. Even Harrison looked lost for words at the extremes of the former heavyweight champions' praise.

It was clear from the opening bell that Hersisia's physical disadvantages would lead to his inevitable defeat but it is not fair to criticise every Harrison victory by simply declaring he is too big and too strong for his opponents. It is rather like knocking Marion Jones by claiming she is too fast.

On Saturday night, Hersisia made round four relatively interesting before having his senses ruined by a terrific short upper-cut that led to the final onslaught. Interestingly, Hersisia is two stone heavier and one inch taller than Vassily Jirov, who dropped America's top heavyweight hopeful Joe Mesi three times last week before losing on points.

If Jirov had fought Harrison on Saturday he would have suffered the same fate as Hersisia, and if that had happened Harrison would attract headlines declaring him the uncrowned heavyweight champion.

Harrison is not yet there but he is getting extremely close to being the only realistic fighter with a chance of getting rid of the half-a-dozen men existing in the monumental shadow left by the departure of Lewis.

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