Boxing: Williams silences boos in exposure of Harrison hype

When the final bell thankfully sounded, sport in Britain had yet another people's champion in Danny Williams, but for the one-time national idol Audley Harrison, it was surely his final moment in a boxing ring in the British Isles.

Williams won the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title and, judging by the non-stop boos for his opponent Harrison, he clearly won the hearts and minds of everybody who had paid an awful lot of money to attend the dire encounter in the flesh.

However, the truth about Saturday's over-hyped fight is that neither boxer really deserved to leave the ring as a hero. Williams took the split decision, and that was right, but he fell asleep in five or six rounds. As for Harrison, he was simply awful for 10 of the 12 rounds.

It is impossible to pick out a highlight before the bell sounded for round 10, but I will try. The crowd started to boo after round four, which was not really surprising because the pair had only exchanged a handful of punches.

Harrison picked up a little nick by the side of his left eye in round four, and he retreated even faster than he had done from the opening bell of the fight and dabbed with his glove on the wound like he was responding to a machete attack on his neck.

Harrison looked distressed by the tiny nick, but Williams was clearly not reading the same signals that everybody at ringside and everybody else in the arena could so clearly see. By round seven the boos were relentless, and in round nine there was a beautiful version of "What a load of rubbish".

The fans were right, but up until that point it really was only Williams who was genuinely trying to win the fight which he had started as an underdog.

Harrison was doing far too much smiling and giving Williams far too many knowing glances, but hardly throwing a single punch. After the fight, Harrison revealed that he had damaged his left hand in the early rounds and that had hindered his work. Boxers have always talked about injuries, but the brutal truth is that Harrison just really never looked like he was happy to be sharing the ring with a man that he had verbally belittled for the best part of five years.

Finally, in round 10, Williams managed to get close enough to land with a right hand that can only be described as "clubbing", which connected with the top of Harrison's head, and suddenly the Olympic champion from Sydney, the future of heavyweight boxing and the articulate spokesman for a generation of fighters was on the floor.

During the next 20 seconds, Harrison proved that he does at least have enough heart and desire to climb up from a knock-down and throw enough punches to stop an opponent repeating the act. The knock-down, the count of eight, and the 20 seconds of furious action after the referee said "box on" were surely the only highlights that Harrison can take from Saturday's fight.

Williams somehow failed to take care of business in round 10, and by the middle of round 11 he suddenly slowed down and looked in danger of being stopped himself.

Harrison threw more punches in round 11 than he had thrown in the previous 10 rounds, but Williams was blocking most of them and rolling away from the other punches.

The crowd at this stage had finally come alive and had stopped booing and started howling. It is fair to say that, other than Harrison's immediate family and the men and women he employs, there were no other fans of his in the ExCel Centre on Saturday night.

In the final round, the pair of hefty and exhausted heavyweights mostly held and hugged each other until the final bell.

Harrison appeared to believe he had done enough to win, which is surely one of boxing's most incredible acts of denial because Williams, even though he had not boxed very well, had done enough to take the verdict, win the Commonwealth title, and finally silence Harrison.

Frank Warren, the promoter, immediately announced that there would never be a rematch.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam