Posts Tagged ‘Audley Harrison’
“Obviously my mission is incomplete – my goal is not realised.”
Thus spoke Audley ‘A-Force’ Harrison after a dispiriting defeat to David Haye during which he was hardly able to raise a hand to high-five his conqueror. We assumed that he was referring the continuation of a feted boxing career, the highlight of which was a series of titanic and ultimately unsuccessful bouts against a paper bag.
It seems now however that Harrison, known for his trademark ‘sting like a butterfly’ approach to the noble art, was discussing a future trade in showbusiness. Harrison has agreed to appear in the latest version of Strictly Come Dancing, making the mystifying decision to pass up an opportunity to play the Cowardly Lion in the West End staging of The Wizard of Oz, a role he was surely born to play.
His new venture has been greeted with apprehension by some BBC elders, aware that his previous involvement with the station brought about the total abandonment of its boxing output, the only occasion Harrison has been able to demolish anything. Throughout the series Harrison will go toe-to-toe with camp Italian judge Bruno Tonioli. And go down in three rounds.
During the promotional shoot for the show, Harrison was asked by the photographer to look “angry, really angry, like I’ve just called your mum a dickhead or something”. He was also instructed to ball his fist and make it look threatening, “like the furious hammer of Thor himself.” This is the result:
If an estate agent was trying to flog Audley Harrison he might describe him as ‘charmingly homespun’ and point to the slogan across the t-shirt he wore as he slunk the slow slink of death into the ring on Saturday. ‘Keep Stonebridge Adventure Playground Open’ it read, a local campaign in an age where local shit is everything. The more uncharitable might say that this initiative is in keeping with Audley’s village approach to the fight, but Nelson Mandela won his freedom long ago and we’re all aware of AIDS these days so a good cause is hard to find. I say fair enough, Audley. The Stonebridge Adventure Playground is one of the few places that Audley doesn’t get beaten up. Apart from that regrettable incident with the little girl and the scramble net.
So this blog is putting its weight behind the campaign, if only to ensure that Harrison’s career didn’t die in vain that night. Plus the playground is only five minutes up the road, so its all cool and local. Not that I’d ever want to go there. I’d rather go to Westfield. But I’ve done some research on the internet, and the playground boasts all sorts of wooden crap that you can clamber on. Which is definitely worth saving.
I knew a girl who attended Brunel University while Audley Harrison was studying sports science there. She was able to vouch that he was a polite and popular member of the faculty, a notably passive type given the violent nature of his chosen hobby. Which means that all the recent verbal trash that Harrison has been flinging at David Haye rings a little false. A bit like if Gloria Hunniford offered Anne Diamond outside to the BBC Television Centre car park for a daytime televison version of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle‘.
I followed Harrison’s early professional career keenly for no other slightly juvenile reason than we shared a surname. I watched as developed an unusually tender boxing style, preferring to caress and fondle his opponents rather than actually hitting them. And as he got regularly duffed up by taxi drivers, schoolgirls and paper bags. Like most viewers I got bored. The only thing Harrison had succeeded in knocking out was BBC coverage of professional boxing. He actually killed it.
But now he has a shot at the world title, an opportunity which seems to jar more than one of his punches, particularly if compare Saturdays bout to some of the previous tussles in the rich history of the division.