Boxing: Patience pays off as Harrison passes Latin examination

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The Independent Online

Scott Harrison kept his promise to make short work of Colombian opponent Walter Estrada by stopping him in five rounds in the first defence of his regained World Boxing Association featherweight title at Glasgow's Braehead Arena last night. In doing so he passed another difficult Latin examination but one that turned out to be a test that still left questions unanswered about his future.

The finish may have been blistering but the build-up to it was ragged, with Harrison unable to fathom the southpaw stance of the tall and rangy Colombian who had stepped in as a short notice substitute for number one contender William Abelyan, of Armenia. For three and a half rounds the 27-year-old Scot found himself embroiled in a fistful of trouble, with Estrada's swinging body shots and uppercuts leaving him perplexed and unbalanced.

Then, towards the end of the fourth the South American seemed to run out of steam, heart and ambition and Harrison was able to blast his way through to keep the crown he lost and then reclaimed from the Mexican Manuel Medina last year.

The end came after 63 seconds of the fifth with Estrada, bundled down just before the bell in the fourth, and again early in the fifth, left tangled and twisted in the ropes clearly unable - and, it seemed, unwilling - to defend himself. The bilingual referee Gino Rodriguez, from Chicago, wisely told him: "No mas." No more. Yet it had been a frustrating night for Harrison in many ways. Estrada responded to his big right hand with a body attack in the first round, which he clearly won.

Harrison may just have shared the second but again, in the third, he was made to absorb punishment, his face reddened under the Colombian's looping barrage of blows. Even in the fourth it seemed for a while that Harrison's title was again in danger but Estrada suddenly became bereft of ideas, allowing Harrison to cleave his way effectively through his southpaw stance. He rallied briefly in the fifth but Harrison had the scent of victory and drove home his punches with ferocity though none seemed to land particularly cleanly.

After Estrada had succumbed, Harrison denied that he had been flustered in the opening rounds. "He could punch a bit but I could feel him weakening round by round. I have prepared well for the fight and believed I would win inside the distance." He may have his title and reputation back as boxing's Braveheart but he has still to prove he can live up to manager Frank Maloney's belief that he is the best featherweight Britain has produced. He also has to face the more accomplished Abelyan, who is still the mandatory challenger.