Sprott (left) knew he had the beating of Audley
By Clive Bernath: Reading’s Michael Sprott has revealed the knockdown he suffered in the opening round against Audley Harrison last weekend, served as no more than a wake up call for him.
The 32 year-old not only retained his European Union heavyweight title with a stunning third round knockout but almost certainly smashed the former Olympic Super-heavyweight champion into enforced retirement.
Speaking exclusively to SecondsOut Sprott said: “ I was not bothered or hurt when I got knocked down. I was fine. He(Audley) sort of hit me on the back of the head and because I was slightly off balance I went down. But I was not bothered about it because I have been down many times before and I knew I was going to come back from it.”
As soon as the fight was announced Sprott was confident of victory but he also revealed he did not stick to the game plan trainer Jim Evans had previously set out for him.
“I did start off slow in the opening round,” admitted Sprott, The plan was to jump on him right away and make him work but I was just being cautious and was trying to work him out. But the knockdown sort of woke me up and in the second round I got my jab going, more.
At 6ft 6 and with a far greater reach advantage Harrison should have been the one benefiting from all the physical advantages against the smaller man but it was Sprott that was ramming home fast and accurate jabs in the second round. It was at that point Sprott knew there was only going to be one winner.
“I was not surprised that I was beating him(Audley)to the jab because I have sparred with him many times and I was out-jabbing him then even though he has a much longer reach,” said Sprott. "I was always confident I was going to beat him but when I started connecting with the jab I knew I had him.
“You know I did envision knocking him out but I did not think that I would knock him out so early. I knew when I hit him though that he would not get up. I thought I would have to wait until the later rounds to knock him out. But I really did picture him in my mind beforehand knocking him out.”
The reward for Sprott now according to his promoter Frank Warren is a world title eliminator against Bedford’s heavy handed Matt Skelton. Sprott surrendered his British and Commonwealth titles to Skelton by virtue of a 12th round knockout in April 2004. But that fight was three years ago and Skelton is now three years older at 40 years of age whilst Sprott is at his peak at 32, and has since gained valuable experience on the European stage.
Sprott vs Skelton ll promises to be a lively affair and one Sprott sees as maybe a tougher encounter than Harrison in some ways: “I think Skelton could be a tougher fight for different reasons,” said Sprott. “Audley is technically better than Skelton but Matt is stronger so I see the Skelton fight as a more physical fight for me.”
As for Harrison his career is effectively all but over. But the 35 year-old deluded one begs to differ and immediately screamed for a rematch in the same arrogant manner that has made him one of the most disliked and least respected British fighters of recent years.
It may surprise Harrison but Sprott is not the least bit interested in going over old ground.
“No way will I be interested in a rematch,” insisted Sprott. “ Whats the point of that? I’ve been there and beaten him, I’m going forward now. No disrespect to Danny(Williams) but I could not see why he gave Audley a rematch, either. He(Danny) had already beaten Audley once so why go back again?
February 20, 2007