Boxing: Ex-champ Harrison given surprise workout by Englishman
FORMER two-times world featherweight champion Scott Harrison last night continued his comeback at the SECC in Glasgow with the sort of bout he will need if he is to earn another crack at a world title.
Joe Elfidh of Haworth in Nottinghamshire was a late choice of opponent for their lightweight contest after Miguel Aguilar of Nicaragua failed to turn up.
The Englishman put up a skilful show, staying out of trouble and even troubling Harrison with a late haymaker. He was no mug and gave Harrison the ring work he need.
Not that you would have said that after 60 seconds of the first round, by which time Elfidh had been unceremoniously dumped on his backside by a classic Harrison attack out of the champion’s old armoury.
A left hook connected with Elfidh’s chin, and a swift follow-up left from Harrison put his opponent down for the mandatory eight count.
It seemed as though Harrison would end it then and there, but Elfidh got on his bike and the Scot was never quite able to connect so powerfully again, even though he dominated throughout.
The score of 60-53 score accurately reflected the contest. Harrison was determined to press his case for a world title bout afterwards. He said: “I just treated it as workout and I will stay in the gym and get ready for a world championship fight.”
There were several incidents of trouble in the crowd, though whether they were Scotland v England contests or just local neds battering each other is impossible to say. Nevertheless they were unsavoury and questions must be asked about the easy availability of alcohol in the SECC on such a night.
In the second-ranked of the supporting bouts, John Simpson brought the SECC crowd to its feet with a sensational knockout of Welsh opponent Dai Davies after just 30 seconds of the second round of their Celtic super-featherweight championship.
Simpson dominated from the start and, although Davies tried to throw some ripostes, it was Greenock’s former British and Commonwealth featherweight champion who brought the fight to a swift end.
A blistering left-right combination sent Davies to the canvas, and referee Phil Edwards got to six before he realised that the man from Merthyr was spark out.
He regained consciousness quickly, however, and after ensuring that his opponent was fully recovered, Simpson explained that the winning combination just came naturally to him.
“I am punching a lot harder now,” said Simpson, “and I felt in complete control in there. On paper he was not the best opponent ever, but he still took the fight and I think I have sent out a message to the crowd and the TV audience.”
That message has been made clear by Simpson – he wants a European title fight as a means to an eventual world belt contest. On last night’s showing he is worth it.
The three Edinburgh boxers on the undercard all won, Stephen Simmons outpointing Tayar Mehmed of Bulgaria over six rounds at cruiserweight before John Thain also won on points, defeating Lee Noble of Barnsley over six hard rounds.
Southpaw super-featherweight Jonathan Slowey completed the treble, beating Tibor Meszaros of Hungary on points.
Referee Phil Edwards scored it 60-55 for Thain, which was a tad unfair on Noble who stalked off disgusted at being awarded only one round when he clearly troubled Thain, whose nose was bloodied in the first and kept bleeding throughout.
“The nose was not a problem but he was was a lot stronger than we anticipated,” said Thain, whose record moves to eight wins, no losses. “He’s a very tough campaigner who came to fight, and I’m just glad to get the win.”
Simmons, the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, did not lose a round against Mehmed, and is now unbeaten in six fights.
Also on the undercard, there were wins for young Scots Hugh Gray, Ryan Collins, and Michael Roberts.
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