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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Haye questions Harrison heart ahead of world title bout

David Haye v Audley Harrison, WBA heavyweight championship
Venue: MEN Arena, Manchester Date: Saturday 13 November
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website, with live text commentary online and on mobile phones; Live on Sky Box Office

Haye and Harrison in war of words

David Haye has questioned Audley Harrison's fighting spirit ahead of their eagerly anticipated clash in Manchester on Saturday.

Haye defends his WBA heavyweight title against Harrison at the MEN Arena, only the third time two Britons have fought for a world heavyweight crown.

"I've heard he wants to knock me out early, which is tremendous, it gives me a warm feeling," said Haye, 30.

"Because I like to fight and he doesn't like to fight as much as I do."

The fellow Londoners and former friends met for a final head-to-head news conference on Wednesday, with the title-holder adding he was "looking forward to going to war".

However, former European champion Harrison, 39, claimed the version of him that won Olympic gold in 2000 would be good enough to beat Haye.

606: DEBATE
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"The Audley Harrison that won the Olympics and beat Danny Williams [in a rematch in 2006] will destroy David Haye," said Harrison, who has 27 wins from 31 pro fights.

"David thinks he is going to walk through me and this is going to be some sort of public execution, but this is going to be the fight of his life.

"David Haye is not going to break my spirit. He's not going to knock me out. He couldn't take me out when we sparred together years back and I've sparred with David too many times to know that.

McGuigan backs 'devastating' Haye win

"I've fallen in the past but never given up and Saturday night will be my crowning glory, when Audley Harrison becomes heavyweight champion of the world.

"It's going to be tough but ultimately I will prevail, it is my destiny."

But Haye, who has won 24 of his 25 fights, added: "Audley talks about his 'warrior spirit' and we saw it against Michael Sprott in his last fight [when Harrison won the European title with a last-round knockout].

"But where was that 'warrior spirit' and 'unbreakable will' in his first fight against Sprott [when Harrison was knocked out] or against Martin Rogan [when Harrison lost on points]?

"He has acquired it somewhere running up the mountains in California for this fight, maybe. I know what Audley is all about.

"He's looking back to amateur fights I had in 1997 for weaknesses but I only have to look back to his last fight for weaknesses in him."

Haye, who is making the second defence of the title he won from giant Russian Nikolay Valuev last November, said he believes Harrison is scared, claiming he could "hear his heart beat through his jacket" throughout the conference.

The two previous all-British heavyweight world title fights were Lennox Lewis v Frank Bruno in 1993 and Lewis v Henry Akinwande in 1997 (both for Lewis's WBC crown).



see also
Harrison can upset Haye - Lewis
07 Nov 10 |  Boxing
Harrison 'feels sorry' for Haye
01 Nov 10 |  Boxing
Harrison to take on champion Haye
07 Sep 10 |  Boxing
Last-gasp Harrison stops Sprott
09 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Haye set to start Klitschko talks
13 Apr 10 |  Boxing
Harrison wins Prizefighter title
03 Oct 09 |  Boxing


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