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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

Revenge is Sweet for Harrison the Brave…
By Paul Concannon

A big hello all and big apology about the delay in keeping you all up to speed with the UK scene, here’s a few highlights since we last touched base on the sweet science…

On November 29th Scott Harrison made local history by becoming the first man from Scotland ever to regain a world title, and those who have tried and failed include Ken Buchannan.

An off colour Harrison had lost this WBO featherweight title to the outstanding Mexican veteran Manny Medina earlier this year in a bout he was expected to win comfortably.

Harrison had later claimed he was suffering the ill effects of a throat infection and certainly the difference between the first and second bout was striking in terms of his level of performance. The 26 year old was more purposeful right from the start, landing jabs on the fleet-footed Mexican (something he had never done in the 1st fight) and almost ending the bout in the opener when rocking Medina with a howitzer right hand in a neutral corner.  Medina was floored in the frenzied follow up and an early finish looked very possible as the bell saved the Mexican from the rampaging ex-champ.

Harrison dominated all the early rounds before hitting a bad spell mid fight when Medina found his rhythm and began the water-torture routine that taken Scott out of his stride last time out.  The come back would prove too short-lived; Harrison won the ninth, scored two knockdowns in the tenth and applied the finish when a clumping right cross in the eleventh sent the exhausted Mexican down for the fourth and final time.  Harrison was back and Medina proved that in his day he would have always proved a handful for the Scot, just one of those style things.  I would suggest Harrison’s management would be keeping him away from awkward types for the foreseeable future.

The year would not have been complete without at least one sick-note from the exciting WBO 168 champ Joe Calzaghe and sure enough his latest withdrawal came when a nasty bout of flu saw him pull out of what looked like a hideous mismatch against Mger Mkrtchiam scheduled for December the 6th.  Not too many complaints about that one- but Joe, can I suggest vitamin C?

Talking of the Super-Middleweights, ex WBC champion Robin Reid was the victim of some atrociously jaundiced officialdom on the 13th of December in Germany.  Reid was challenging the long-serving and diabolically dull whinger; Sven Ottke for the latter’s WBA and IBF titles.  Reid’s game effort was constantly hampered by an inept, overzealous, biased, blinkered imbecile of a referee called Roger Tillerman.

Fighting Ottke in his back Garden is always a hiding to nothing; the mystifyingly popular local hero can always expect every possible advantage in terms of the ring-size, being awarded any round where he is able to snake in a couple of jabs despite what the other guy does to him and of course the adulation of an apparently hypnotised crowd of locals who seem to cheer at the mere suggestion of a punch from him, we knew that, Ottke knows it, and Robin Reid damn well knew it as well.  What had not been bargained for in Reid’s game plan was that Ottke also had a tag-team partner in the form of Tillerman.

Here’s what happened; Reid schooled for the German for the first 5 rounds, out-jabbed him, countering well and hitting him with a repertoire of well-placed shots. What should have been a bright start for the Runcorn man became a complete nightmare of constant warnings for non-existent infractions from a man who seemed hell bent on making sure Ottke came to know harm whatsoever.

There were too many warnings to even catalogue and at times Reid seemed to be chastised for simply hitting Ottke who complained to the sympathetic official any time Reid so much as threatened.  Only in boxing could this nonsense occur.  Imagine a 1500 metre runner competing away from home and having a local official trip them up every 100 yards or so and you have an idea of quite how bad things were.

In the sixth, Tillerman managed to achieve a whole new low when announcing an excellent knockdown against Ottke as a slip then deducting a point from Reid for a head-clash that was at best 50-50.  What should have been a 10-8 round for the Reid became a 10-9 for Ottke.

The fight began to slip from the understandably distracted Reid who allowed the local to dictate (in his low-key minimalist way) from rounds 7-10.  Reid came back to win the last two, meaning, for anyone without cataracts, an 8-4 win in rounds for the away fighter.  The result?  A unanimous points win for Ottke, an absolute hot needle in the eye for boxing’s credibility and yet another disgruntled challenger to add to the list of Mads Larsen, Byron Mitchell, Charles Brewer, Glenn Johnson, David Starie – who have left Germany empty handed when seeming to have done enough against Ottke.  Add to that the atrocious stroke-pulling that cost Danny Green a dq loss against Ottke stable-mate Marcus Beyer and the rough verdict Eric Lucas received against the same man and I feel it’s time to ask ourselves the simple question; are Ottke and Beyer the luckiest people in the world or is it time to look at why it’s so hard to get a win against either of them.

Roger Tillerman for your blinkered and flagrantly one-sided display of refereeing, described by many as the worst officiating they have ever seen, you are named and shamed.

Sven Ottke, for your whining, for being the dullest ever most cotton wool wrapped world champion, you are named and shamed.

Ahhh, I feel better already…

Also last Saturday; Ricky Hatton made the latest defence of his WBU trinket when pounding out a decent win over tough as old boots Ben Tackie from Ghana.  The result was predictable enough but Hatton looked good and improves with every fight for this boxing-fan.  Let’s see him off the leash this, Mr. Warren…  

There was stacks more action to mention but alas, that’s about all we have time for ladies and gents.  To any of you deserving boxers who I failed to mention this year I apologize.

Big thanks to my editors Dave Dylis and “Bad” Brad Berkwitt (do buy his book, ‘Boxing Interviews of a Lifetime’ it’s must for all true fans of the sport) and finally, to you, the readers and fellow boxing nuts I bid you a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous 2004….  

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