BBC Sport boxing

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 04:27 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 05:27 UK
Joe Calzaghe v Bernard Hopkins
Las Vegas - 20 April, 2008

Audley Harrison
Harrison may not have silenced his critics with his Vegas win

Audley Harrison got his latest heavyweight comeback under way in Las Vegas with an unconvincing fifth round win over US journeyman Jason Barnett.

In his first fight since a knockout defeat to Michael Sprott last February, Harrison looked cautious but made a weight advantage of two stones count.

The bout was waved off after a minute and 48 seconds of the round when Barnett crumpled after a body blow.

"I felt a little rusty, but I'm happy with my jab," said Harrison.

"When my corner told me to start going downstairs that's when I broke him down. He was a live opponent and after 18 months I'm just happy to be back."

Harrison's comeback had been derailed by a car crash and the death of his brother.

But the Londoner, who now lives in Vegas, believes his victory - on the undercard of Joe Calzaghe v Bernard Hopkins - will eventually lead to a world heavyweight title.

Harrison turned professional amid great fanfare in 2000 after striking gold at the Sydney Olympics, but his career soon went off track.

Deciding to manage his own career, Harrison picked poor opponents and made brash pronouncements and soon lost the support of the British public.

After 19 straight victories, Harrison was first defeated by fellow Brit Danny Williams, then American Dominick Guinn, before being flattened by Reading's Sprott last February and booed out of the ring.

On the same card, Calzaghe's stablemate Nathan Cleverly got the Welsh contingent off to a good start with a shut-out 80-72 eight-round points victory over North Carolina veteran Antonio Baker.

see also