Scott Harrison aims for fast-track return to his former glory
SCOTT Harrison believes he deserves to be fast-tracked to a world title challenge if he makes a successful return to boxing at the end of this month.
The former WBO featherweight champion is scheduled to make his first ring appearance in almost seven years with a ten-round contest against Frenchman Brahim Bariz at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 29 June.
Harrison has not fought since November 2005, when he defended his WBO crown with a unanimous points victory over Nedal Hussein at the Breahead Arena. He was stripped of the title a year later, both his life and career veering wildly off track because of alcohol-fuelled problems. Now 34, the Cambuslang man has had his boxing licence re-instated following his release from a Spanish prison last year and will now campaign in the lightweight division. The comeback route mapped out for Harrison by his new manager Alex Morrison includes a possible British title challenge against Derry Mathews, of Liverpool, later this year.
But, at a media conference to mark the re-opening of Morrison’s gym in the east end of Glasgow, the previous structure having been ravaged by fire in December, Harrison was dismissive of both Mathews and a return to competing at British title level.
“To be honest, I don’t even know who Derry Mathews is,” said Harrison of the 28-year-old Liverpudlian, who was also present at yesterday’s event. I didn’t even know what he looked like. When they said his name today, I turned around and said ‘Who’s Derry Mathews?’. You’d still need to point him out to me.
“They said he’s graciously going to put his title on the line against me. That’s good, isn’t it? I’ve always looked at who is the world champion, not British champion. The British title isn’t really attractive to me. I want to fight for the world title.
“I won the British [featherweight] title when I was 23. I’m 34 now and don’t have time to hang about. Put your world title on the line and I’ll fight you.
“I think my name’s big enough for a world title shot, is it not? I want to have this one fight on 29 June and then challenge for a world title. At the end of the day, I didn’t lose my world title in the ring. I left at the top and I’ll be making sure I come back and take my rightful place again.”
Harrison says that his lengthy absence from boxing, including two-and-a-half years of incarceration in Spain following his conviction for assault, have left him with both a sense of regret and a renewed determination to find atonement.
“It’s felt like an eternity to me,” he added. “This is my job, how I provide for my family, but I’ve lost a lot of time and a lot of money. A couple of times in Spain, I felt I was never going to get back home. I kept training all the time but I was thinking ‘Is it going to happen?’. But you have to keep positive and stay strong mentally.
“I’ve been to a lot of dark places, seen a lot of bad things. So I’m definitely pleased to still be here. Am I worried about having lost my peak years? We’ll see on 29 June how good I feel once that bell goes. I’ve always kept myself in shape and I feel better now than I did in my 20s. I live better now than I did then. I just want to get back in there and prove I can be a world champion again.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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