DISGRACED former boxing champion Scott Harrison is to make a comeback in Scotland after winning the right to return to the ring in Malta.
The former World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion is set to fight on 15 August at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre.
I have never stopped being a winner in my headScott Harrison
Harrison will try to resurrect his career in his homeland aged nearly 38 after being cleared to fight by the Maltese Boxing Commission earlier this month, under pan-European fight rules.
His licence remains suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control pending an appeal against extradition to Spain to serve a four-year jail term, after he was found guilty of assault following an incident in 2007.
But he is once again free to box in Scotland under the terms of the European Union’s free trade and anti-monopoly laws.Harrison admitted it took a couple of days for it to sink in and described the news that he had been licensed to fight again as “amazing – and surreal”.
He added: “I never gave up hope. There have been a lot of dark times and there were moments when I wondered if it would ever happen.
“There were even a few occasions when I said to myself that they just weren’t going to let me back in, but even during the worst of times I was determined to keep going.
“That’s because I have a winner’s mentality. Just because I was suspended for two years, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t in the gym every day, thinking about winning titles.
“I am coming back nearly ten years after I was a world champion and that’s the thing: I want to win another world title.
“I have won two already and I have never stopped being a winner in my head, and that mentality is the reason I have been successful. That never leaves you. That determination, belief and will to win is either in you or it’s not and at 37 I still have a lot to offer boxing.”
Bellshill-born Harrison has fought only three times since the last of his 11 world title bouts in November 2005, when he won a unanimous points decision over Australian Nedal Hussein to retain his WBO featherweight crown.
He was absent from the ring for more than six-and-a-half years before making a surprise return, defeating Hungarian Gyorgy Mizsei and Englishman Joe Elfidi in 2012. The following April, he had the most recent of his 32 bouts, losing on points to Liam Walsh for the WBO European lightweight title.
But he said: “By fight night, I will have been training for eight or nine weeks, not just two or three, as happened when I took the fight with Walsh at short notice. So I’ll be back to my old self. You can’t get your sharpness and timing in just two or three weeks. It takes six to eight weeks to achieve that and I have already started sparring and I feel good.
“I’m well ahead of schedule and I am looking forward to getting my career back on track.”