Harrison sticks to pro start in England

Olympic superheavyweight boxing champion Audley Harrison is set to defy American promoter Don King and start his pro career in England.

Olympic superheavyweight boxing champion Audley Harrison is set to defy American promoter Don King and start his pro career in England.

One of the hottest fighters to emerge from the Sydney Games and Britain's first gold medalist for 32 years, the 6-foot-6 (1.98m) fighter hasn't yet mentioned a date when he will turn pro, let alone an opponent.

But the Londoner seems set to start what could be a lucrative career at age 29 in his home country rather than accept King's offer to begin his journey towards a world title in the United States.

"I have received a number of offers, and they have not just been from American promoters like Don King," he said in London on Monday.

"America seem to want me to begin my professional career over there, and I think they will make a big play for my services.

"Although I will be visiting America a few times before the turn of the year, I am going to stick by my original decision and fight in England," he said.

"There are large sums of money being talked about, but I must remain focused and not get distracted by these ridiculous offers. But it's very hard when I've been a pauper amateur for so long."

Harrison aims to emulate Lennox Lewis as a fighter who won the Olympic superheavyweight title and went on to become undisputed champion as a pro. Starting at age 29, he realizes he only has a short time to do it.

"It is about choosing the right pathway and ensuring you reach the pinnacle of your career in the quickest time possible," Harrison said.

"I do not want to hold myself back too long and realize every so often I will have to fight over there.

"I have a lot of work to do if I am going to fight for a world title by the time I am 33 but I believe I have the talent to compete with the best."

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