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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 17:05 GMT
Impressed with Audley?
Audley Harrison will be hoping to impress the American public
British heavyweight Audley Harrison stops Shawn Robinson in the first round of his US professional debut in Atlantic City.

Is Audley on target for world success?

The 31-year-old Sydney Olympic gold medallist wasted little time and won a one-sided contest in two minutes and nine seconds for his eighth professional win.

The 6ft 6in Harrison sent 5ft 11in Robinson sprawling to the canvas with a viscious left after a scrappy opening to the bout.

Robinson - a 31-year-old journeyman fighter from Strafford, Vermont - had won 15 of his 19 professional contests before this fight.

Does Audley have what it takes?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your emails appears below.

With the calibre of fighters (if you can call them that) that he is up against he should be in the ring every two months. Time waits for no man and at this rate it's going to be touch and go as to whether he'll be drawing his pension or getting a title shot first!
Fridge, England

Audley can say what he wants about his plans to be World Champ within four years. By then he'll be 35, and still won't have had a ten-round fight against a decent boxer. If you want to know where the next British World Heavyweight Champion is coming from, look no further than Danny Williams.
Matt Noble, England

Harrison has proved that not only can he punch, but he has the skills to boot. He's taking each fight as a learning experience which is what every new pro does, look at some of the bums Bruno was knocking over when he started out.

There is a massive void at the top now Lewis seems to have stepped back
Jon Harford, Belgium

As for Williams, he's desperate to get Harrison in the ring in the next six months, any later and Harrison will be so far beyond him, he'll look inept and full of it.

Good luck Harrison, you're the real deal. I expect to see him fighting for a 'true' world belt sometime in 2004/5.
Steven Tweedy, England

Audley's misfortune is that all of his first few bouts have been high profile and in the public glare, where normally a fighter only comes into the public spotlight once have have notched up 10-15 knockouts with out loss.

It's easy to say Audley's fighting chumps now, but he is just moving along the same path that all boxers follow, learning how to box "professionally", gaining experience and picking up tricks of the trade which will be invaluable when he starts to match the big boys.

However, I do feel that there is a massive void at the top now Lewis seems to have stepped back, with no real contenders around and that Audley should look for a crack at Danny Williams.

DW won't do it though, because a defeat would end his career and the chance of a big pay day against a top American like Tyson.
Jon Harford, Belgium

Audley is a big guy that has boxing skills, but no punch. The reason that he gets so much criticism is that he has learnt from Nas that the best way to earn money in the fight game is to shoot off your mouth, and become a "personality". Good luck to him I say.

He does not have the tools to deal with the top heavyweights

Regarding comparisons to Lennox Lewis; he is not in the same class in my opinion, the reason being, as mentioned before, his lack of power. This lack of power will be exposed as soon as he fights any top class heavyweight: they will simply try to walk straight through his punches and test his chin.

The style he needs against top opponents is that of a defensive counter puncher that is always on the move, sadly he does not have the stamina to fight this way.

If he can build up his stamina, he may be good enough to win a "world title", but he does not have the tools to deal with the top heavyweights. He will retire a rich man after his first defeat, which will come against his first class opponent.

I think my old teacher Mrs Harrison would have put up a better fight than the last eight fall-guys.
Matthew, England

Surely Harrison should now box someone of repute.
H Barden, England

I'm a big Harrison fan; I'm 15 and have been into boxing for about a year. In my limited experience the best fights have been Harrison or Lewis fights. I've seen no Ali or Foreman fights. The heavyweight world series should boost things up a bit.

Harrison's performance showed what a hard hitter he is but I'm still not convinced about his chin or stamina. He must step up, and at 31 that means way up. There are a lot of old heavyweights that could give Harrison a run for his money like Henry Akiwande or even Larry Holmes.

His chin and stamina has never really been tested
Sonyfloyd Marciano, England

Henry Akiwande v Harrison would be a good fight if Harrison would step up to eight rounds. Akiwande would be a good name on Harrison's record but so would a virtually unheard of heavyweight named DaVarryl Williamson who turned professional at 34. However, he is dangerous and once knocked out Corry Sanders.

As to the Robinson fight I say well done Audley, but get a good one for your tenth.
Lewis Foster, England

I'm a big boxing fan and a big Audley fan. We know now he can punch hard but his chin and stamina has never really been tested. Let's see Harrison v Akiwande or Davarryl Williamson, another underrated boxer.
Sonyfloyd Marciano, England

I can quite understand Audley wanting to get a good early win/loss/KO ratio, but until he fights decent opposition he's not going to get the respect he yearns for.
Andy, UK

Audley must be dangerous - he has me in stitches! The good news is he can book his role in panto for next year, then he can look forward to After They Were Famous.

As for his "boxing" career, the BBC have no plans to renew his contract so after 10 fights he's going to be in trouble. Somehow I can't see Don King banging his door down. I've also heard he's wanted by the Police for impersonating a fighter.
Dan Russell, UK

Audley has no heart and no pride, no style and no substance. He has short-changed the BBC and short-changed the British public. As soon as he gets in a ring with someone of comparable size with any ability he will be found out. He has a good PR machine and should be considering pantomime roles within the next few years.
Steve Folan, UK

He has jumped off the gravy train and is now at last focused on the title trail
Ken Miller, UK

I don't rate Harrison, he hasn't fought anyone of any significance and has stuggled in some of his bouts. He is highly overrated by a lot of people including himself.

He doesn't have what it takes to get to the top, and that's saying something as the heavyweight division isn't very strong at the moment. Also, at 31 I don't think he has the time to get to the top if he keeps fighting all these nobodies and doesn't start fighting tougher opponents.

He will get flattened if he comes up against someone who can punch and to be honest, I hope he does.
Jonathan, England

Audley's last two fights have proved he has jumped off the gravy train and is now at last focused on the title trail. The opponents may not have been top drawer but his method of execution were punches hallmarked future champion.
Ken Miller, United Kingdom

As they say at Harvard, "Intelligence is your greatest weapon". Audley has that plus all the tools a top class fighter needs. Danny Williams in comparison is overweight, too slow around the ring and has beaten nobody.
Omar, United Kingdom

Audley Harrsion, heavyweight champion of the world...I just don't see it. New pros should be in the ring every two months or so, and against credible opposition. Harrison is going in against hand picked journey men, who offer little competition.

I'm convinced he'll be KO'd by the first decent guy he comes across
Gareth, Wales

Audley seems to be happy with being a C-list celeb rather than a half decent fighter, and as soon as the public realises this, the Harrsison bandwagon will come to a grinding halt.
Mark R, Scotland

Given his age you can understand why people feel he should not waste time with easy fights. However, I think Audley has got what it takes to go far, even to the world title.

Dont forget, Cassius Clay, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya won gold at the Olympics and went on to be world champs. Audley should not rush into fights he knows he can't win yet, but time is not on his side.

Audley is a fraud. I'm convinced he'll be KO'd by the first decent guy he comes across. He has ability but time is not on his side. Some of his opponents have had no real ambition.

He should take on somebody who will not be intimidated by him. People like Keith Long, Mark Potter and the emerging Scott Gammer will certainly let him know that he's in for a battle.
Gareth, Wales

I believe he is doing the right thing, but I wish he would just fight a bit more often!
Paul McGregor, UK

Audley is fighting oversized doormen who he knows he can clock up his winnings against. If I wanted to see doormen get beaten up I would venture up Streatham high street on a Saturday.
Simon, England

There's no point in Audley facing tough opponents until he is ready, and the only way to achieve this is to get lots of bouts against beatable fighters. Tyson, Lewis, Holyfield, in fact, all the great champs had easy fights in the early stages of their career.

I therefore believe he is doing the right thing, but I wish he would just fight a bit more often!
Paul McGregor, UK

Audley Harrison is unlucky in that he has been besieged by criticism from the same people who derided and discredited Lennox Lewis in his earlier days. The criticism is plain jealousy. Naz experienced it, as did Lennox, and now A-Force is subjected to the same nonsense. Nobody should expect Audley to be boxing against Holyfield yet.

Let him do what he wants right now and we should all judge him in a few years time. In the mean time, the "haters" should keep quiet whilst the rest of us get on the Harrison gravy train. This man will become champ and emulate the legendary Lennox Lewis!
Navdeep Sandhu, Leicester, UK

Audley is going about his trade the right way
Patrick, England

It's only a matter of time before he meets a real fighter, in the form of any serious American contender. He's playing at being a 'film star fighter' in a professional man's game, and a crushing defeat is in the post.

But unfortunately it's going to be much later rather than sooner, judging by the snail's pace at which his career is going. Who would possibly attempt to gain a world title by turning pro in the hardest division at the age of 29?
Daniel Wilson, England

I think Audley is going about his trade the right way. He's getting stuck in and polishing up his boxing skills, he could have a long and promising career if he plays his cards right. He will know when the times right to express himself in the ring with the likes of Danny Williams. Box on Audley.
Patrick, England

As always, it's hard to tell with Harrison. He landed a fair few punches, but against an opponent who didn't offer that much resistance. Having said that, at least he knocked the guy out, unlike Negus for instance.

What Harrison needs to prove is that he has the killer punch to live with the big guys - but is a punchbag like Robinson really the person to test yourself against? As far as I'm concerned, Audley should fight Danny Williams as soon as possible (in a year maybe).
Tim, England

Audley hasn't proved himself. His eight fights have been easy and he hasn't been truly tested. He will never be world champion, there are too many better boxers than him.

I'm beginning to get the feeling that he's a "wannabee" who is avoiding confronting the unpleasant truth
Chris B, England

If he wants to be taken seriously then he must have a decent fight against a known boxer and try to make it last more than three minutes!
James, England

It's now time for Audley to start walking the walk rather than talking the talk! It's time he stepped up his calibre of opposition and started living up to his billing as the Olympic Gold Medal winner!

Whatever happened to being ready for a British title shot after five fights? He has to start returning the faith the BBC have shown in him! Come on Audley, show us if you are in the same league as Lennox Lewis!
Joga Singh Uppal, United Kingdom

Does Audley have what it takes? We won't know that until Audley meets an opponent who also "has what it takes". And, so far in his professional career, Audley hasn't.

I'm beginning to get the feeling that he's a "wannabee" who is avoiding confronting the unpleasant truth.
Chris B, England

I think people should just leave Audley to do it. We would support him instead of criticising him. We need a good heavyweight now Lennox is about to retire. I'm sure in six more fights Audley will be fighting for a British or European title.
Dan Taylor, England

Who are these guys he is fighting?
Joseph Munowenyu, USA

Let's look at this fight for what it was - an opportunity for Audley to look good and be introduced to the American public. Don't use this fight to compare Audley with Danny Williams.

Yes, Shawn Robinson was a common opponent to both of them but they fought him at different times in his career. Audley is not yet on a par with Danny.
Alex Olusegun, USA

A solid performance from Audley, but he does need to start fighting better calibre opponents soon to regain some credibility and to prove he can do it. An Olympic and amateur champion should be capable of beating good fighters, rather than taking on a string of journeymen.

He's proved his worth so far, now it's time to step it up, bearing in mind he is 31. He hasn't got all the time in the world.
Andrew Smith, UK

Who are these guys he is fighting? He is merely ravaging punch bags. I honestly believe Audley has not been tested yet and needs to pick a fight against a real and seasoned fighter before he wins the respect of the boxing fraternity.
Joseph Munowenyu, USA

Audley Harrison's professional career - so far

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