Sheffield champion’s mixed views on Audley

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Audley Harrison’s embarrassing 70-second knockout at Sheffield Arena in April saw him retire almost immediately.

It lasted 20 days.

Audley Harrison (left) goes to the floor during his Heavyweight bout against Deontay Wilder at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield. Pic: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Audley Harrison (left) goes to the floor during his Heavyweight bout against Deontay Wilder at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield. Pic: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Then the Olympic Gold Medalist Audley Harrison shrugged off the pummelling at the hands of American Deontay Wilder, announced his return to the ring. Reaction, it is fair to say, has been mixed.

Harrison had lasted just 12 seconds longer against David Price, in 2012.

And his world WBA World heavyweight title bash with the victorious David Haye was over in the third round two years previous to that.

Sheffield’s former light heavyweight world champ Clinton Woods has a theory. He thinks it would might be good for boxing fans to see Harrison back - because they’d like to see the 6ft 5½ southpaw hit the canvas again!

Woods said: “Bring him back: people love to see Audley knocked out.

“I am one of the few who always thought he would be world champion. He has conned me a few times.

“There have been a few fights where he has looked in absolutely fantastic shape, as he was in his last fight, the lightest he has ever been.

And what happened? He was knocked out in the first round.”

In fairness, Woods, who runs an amateur gym in Westfield, thinks Harrison has rightly identified an absence of top boxers in the division.

“Audley knows there are no heavyweights about at the moment. He still thinks he has got a big chance. But he keeps getting stopped, so it is time for him to hang his gloves up.”

Asked what he’d have done if he’d been beaten so convincingly, Woods replied: “Left the country.”

But Woods accepts that if Harrison still loves the sport, he should come back. “Why should he get pressured by the public to pack it in?

“People love seeing him lose, so let’s get him back in the ring.”

Closer to home, Woods is hoping to see Kell Brook return from injury - he fights Carson Jones at Hull on July 13 - continue his upward ascent towards a global title.

“If he gets himself right and injury free and gets his mind and training right, I think he could be a world champion.

“He has been pulled out of quite a lot of fights, I know he has had injuries. But time soon flies in boxing, he is a young kid on the block and I think he needs to move now.”

*Lee Connelly is having a short break from boxing after being in “two hard wars.”

The Killamarsh fighter, 25, ended up without success against Sean Dodd and Calum Cooper. Connelly wrote on Facebook: “Having a little rest, two hard wars in a row and only two weeks between them.” He’s pulled out of boxing Barnsley’s Ben Wager at Doncaster on July 7.

Clinton Woods posted: “You a credit to the sport, mate.” And promoter Dave Coldwell described him as “my favourite away boxer.”