Audley Harrison
www.fightingtips.co.uk editor Frankie Monkhouse guides you through this weekend’s betting action in an attempt to uncover some value.
Audley Harrison gets one final chance to salvage his career when contesting the vacant European heavyweight title on Friday in front of the Sky Sports cameras from 10pm.
Audley ‘A-Force’ Harrison got back to winning ways when lifting the famous Prizefighter trophy last year but the 38 year old still has some way to go if he is to win over a British public who lost almost all interest some time ago.
Since taking gold at the 2000 Olympic games, the Londoner has failed to carry any success into the paid ranks, losing four of an uninspiring thirty fight career. Audley was not always the laughing stock of the game however, winning each of his first nineteen outings, a run which saw him both capture and defend the WBF heavyweight title.
A failure to treat the knowledgeable British public with respect blew up in the 6ft 4inch southpaw’s face however and the California based fighter was left in no doubt of their feelings when his Prizefighter success was met with a chorus of boos.
Defeat at the hands of Danny Williams, Dominick Guinn, Michael Sprott and Martin Rogan have left Harrison a million miles from the world title that he considers to be his destiny but bookmakers believe in second chances, pricing Audley up as a 1/2 favourite (Coral).
Opponent Michael Sprott remains the only man to have knocked Harrison out but the 35 year old is adamant it was no freak occurrence.
Sprott was forced to withdraw from Prizefighter following the death of his sister and despite Harrison donating his prize money to the Sprott family, Michael looks to repay that amazing act of generosity by ending his old friend’s career, once and for all.
The 6ft orthodox from Reading, ranked 7th in the UK, may be a former British, Commonwealth and European champion but having suffered no less than fourteen career defeats already, bookmakers trade at as big as 2/1 (Ladbrokes) about a shock result.
There is little doubt that Michael Sprott has enjoyed a far more impressive career but after losing four of his last six outings, it is that same well travelled campaign that seems to be taking its toll. 
Following the withdrawal of former champion Albert Sosnowski, Sprott arrives as a late stand-in for this contest and will be at least a few weeks behind Harrison in terms of preparation.
Sprott is a durable ex-champion who has already proven his power at this level but the Reading slugger looks far too easy to hit these days and should be confidently out-boxed by a taller, more technical opponent.
Harrison will be looking to keep it long in the opening stages and we have seen before he has no interest in crowd pleasing, meaning the even money offered by Skybet about this bout passing the 7.5 round stage looks worthwhile.
Considering Sprott was a substitute, Harrison to gain revenge and win this one inside the distance should offer an interest at 10/11 (Boylesports).
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