By Wayne Bartlett at ringside: Audley Harrison staved off retirement tonight (Saturday 26th May) with a crushing fourth round stoppage of Ali Adams.
From Sky Box Office at the M.E.N Arena in his last fight, to no live TV coverage at the Brentwood Centre in Essex, Harrison had to win tonight.
Yet despite the situation, ‘A-Force’ started the fight in much the same way as that listless, one punching landing display against David Haye in November 2010.
Adams, who looked in great shape compared to a fleshy looking Audley, started the brighter of the two as he launched attacks against a cagey Harrison, who was content to wait whilst looking for his big left.
After Adams had the better of the opening three rounds, Audley, 28-5(21), finally found a home for that big left early in round four.
Adams, 13-4-1(5), had pounced on his man at the start of round three and landed a heavy hook upstairs with Audley on the ropes. At the start of round four, Adams tried it again.
This time a peach of a left hook landing on the button of the on rushing Adams saw the Iraqi born heavyweight in serious trouble. Still groggy after receiving a standing count, Audley ripped into the champion with lefts and rights by his own corner that prompted Adams’ trainer Don Charles to throw the towel in.
The towel going unnoticed by referee Ken Curtis didn’t matter thankfully, as the official stopped the onslaught moments later with Adams all over the place.
It was a tall order for Ali Adams to topple 40-year-old Harrison, who, despite his peaks and troughs in the pro ranks, is still a big, sharp counterpuncher with a devastating southpaw left, when it lands.
Adams, 30, gave it his all and his work rate alone had him winning the fight, but it wasn’t enough.
The Steve Goodwin promoted show was billed as ‘Redemption or Retirement’. As Audley’s career rolls on, it looks like retirement will wait.