Boxing: Audley Harrison and Tony Bellew get their chance at redemption

Harrison to fight American Deontay Wilder

Audley Harrison’s comeback fight with American Deontay Wilder will feature on the undercard of Amir Khan’s bout with Julio Diaz at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on April 27.

The 41-year-old former Olympic Champion, who hasn’t fought a 12 round bout since his first round knockout at the hands of British heavyweight prospect, David Price, in November, hinted that his fight with the unbeaten Wilder will decide his boxing future, saying that “Lose and it’s over, win and I’m in the top 10 for sure”.

His opponent, an Alabama native with a big reputation will be making his first trip to Europe, having only previously fought in the United States and Mexico. The 27-year-old has won all of his 27 fights by knockout, averaging less than two rounds per fight. In five years as a professional, Wilder is yet to go beyond four rounds, amassing a total only 47 rounds in his 27 fights and his opponent feels that although "Deontay [Wilder] is a fast, dangerous puncher…he has not been tested as a pro”.

After his defeat to the Liverpudlian Price, Harrison returned to London, winning the heavyweight version of Prizefighter for the second time in February. After picking up his first Prizefighter crown, the 41-year-old from London beat Michael Sprott before setting up a world title shot against David Haye. He’ll be hoping for a repeat of fortunes when he starts his latest road to boxing redemption against Wilder in Sheffield in what he described as “[the] biggest risk for the biggest reward. It can't get any better than that."

Elsewhere, Price’s fellow liverpudlian, Tony Bellew, wasted little time in agreeing his rematch with Malawian Isaac Chilemba on the undercard of Carl Froch’s own rematch with Mikkel Kessler in London on May 25. The match-up is a second chance for both men to put themselves in line for a world title fight with American Chad Dawson, with Chilemba acknowledging that “for most, opportunity knocks once” and that he has been “fortunate” to get another shot at a title eliminator.

The first fight, which was declared a draw, topped a Liverpool bill that included another draw – between Anthony Crolla and Derry Matthews, and was only the second time the 30-year-old Bellew hadn’t tasted victory, his only defeat coming against fellow Brit, Nathan Cleverly in 2011.

Bellew, who was visibly frustrated by the decision, feeling he won “nine of the 12 rounds” has vowed to “put things right” on this occasion by working “doubly hard in the weeks ahead of the fight”.

The Liverpool fighter took some stick in the aftermath of the first fight, with many feeling he didn’t live up to his hype but Bellew feels he’s “learned from what happened”, declaring that he “won't be making predictions this time, just concentrating on working hard and beating Isaac to land that world title shot."