Harrison leads way in day of heavyweight hype

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The Independent Online

It was a tale of five heavyweights in London yesterday when Audley Harrison, Julius Francis, Danny Williams, Butterbean and Ruslan Chagaev all made cameo appearances in the city for a variety of reasons.

Harrison announced that he will make his second appearance as a professional at the Olympia hall in Liverpool on 14 July. But, contrary to previous reports, Harrison and the men at his side decided not to release the name of the man he will beat. "We have a list of three, none of them from Britain and all of them have winning records," Harrison said. "We will not be dictated to. We have our plans and we will stick with them."

Just a few minutes' walk away at another hotel in London's West End, Williams met with Francis to announce the date of their rematch. It will take place at the Wembley Conference Centre on 28 July.

The pair last fought in April 1999, when Francis retained his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, but since then he has relinquished both, lost to Mike Tyson and failed to win back the British belt from Michael Holden. Now Williams holds the two titles and they will be on the line when the fighters meet.

"I will not lose to a fat old man and that is what Francis is," said Williams. "He has no pride and no dignity, he even sold his soles to the highest bidder when he met Tyson (Francis reportedly received £40,000 to have a company logo printed on the soles of his boots in anticipation of Tyson beating him)."

The last time the pair met they publicised the fight on Christian radio stations and conducted themselves with the respect that was prevalent at the time ­ now, however, nice is out. Harrison set the new tone a few months ago when he claimed that he could "win a British title tomorrow". "I think Audley upset Danny," Frank Warren, the promoter, said. "Danny is sick of hearing about how Audley can do this and do that. So far Audley has turned down £500,000 to meet Danny and still claims he can win the British title in his fifth fight."

Meanwhile, in another part of town all types of chaos was taking place when Butterbean, the Kentucky boxer, appeared near Buckingham Palace dressed as Henry VIII to help promote his fight for the vacant WBF super-heavyweight title against Shane Woollas at Wembley Conference Centre on Saturday.

The final boxer seen around the capital yesterday was the new world amateur super-heavyweight champion Chagaev, who spent six hours at Heathrow on his way back home to Uzbekistan. The 22-year-old, however, was not only probably the best heavyweight in town yesterday, he was also the quietest.

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