Audley Harrison, the definition of madness and why boxing should be grateful

So Audley’s been knocked out again, early in a fight to the derision of the crowd ringside and by the looks of things, a lot of people who have no idea what its like being hit in the face were being very brave on twitter.

Now I’m the first to admit that Audley’s professional career hasn’t been great, certainly not if compared to either his amateur history, or the hype that he’s managed to get going for his numerous comebacks.

One could in fact argue Audley is the physical embodiment of a popular definition of madness – constantly repeating something you know is wrong.

Can you sense a “but” coming?

Ok, here it is

Audley Harrison was a very good amateur boxer. Won the gold medal at Sydney and reignited my interest in a sport which I’d nearly forgotten when it left terrestrial tv in the wake of the benn-McLennan fight.

Audley was the man that started it all again. He won a gold at a great games (Sydney) which raised the profile of boxing in the wider sporting context. Sky had annexed professional boxing and those great middleweight fights of the 90s seemed a long time ago.

Audley made other people think. Sure the bbc thing was hyped beyond all probable success. It turns out that Audley is a very good short format tournament fighter, having won the Olympics and prizefighter.

What he’s never been is a full on professional fighter. I’ll leave why to people with important letters after their names. What it does show is the difference between the different codes, a difference which has always thrown up notable divergences. Some well thought of boxing writers suggest Tom Stalker, previous the UK Amateur Boxing Captain, might not make it as a pro.

My point is that for his failures, anyone that loves boxing should love Audley not for what he couldn’t do, but for what he did do. He he.ped bring boxing back to the top stage. No Audley, then no Kahn, no London boxing medals, less boxing coverage in national media.

Audley raised public interest in boxing and surely that’s half the battle in the pros, and for that, boxing should be grateful


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