Warren slams 'difficult' Harrison

Last updated at 16:31 05 August 2004

Audley Harrison's chances of challenging British heavyweight champion Matt Skelton receded dramatically today as a planned press conference announcement was replaced by a war of words.

Skelton's promoter Frank Warren labelled Harrison the most difficult boxing man he has ever dealt with after plans to seal the eagerly-anticipated fight broke down.

Warren said: "Throughout my years in boxing I have negotiated with everybody including Don King, Bob Arum and significant boxers, and I must say the most difficult I have encountered is Harrison."

Warren's Sports Network organisation had issued a statement last night claiming the deal had been struck and the fight would be announced in London today.

Warren said today that Harrison knew all along that the press conference depended on their ability to iron out a few outstanding issues early this morning.

He added: "I called a press conference to announce the fight had been made.

"This was on an agreed understanding between Harrison's A-Force Promotions and Sports Network that should Harrison and I not finalise terms the press conference would be cancelled."

Harrison told a different story, outlining his fury via a press release last night that Warren had announced the fight without his knowledge.

Harrison made clear he would not be attending any press conference, forcing Warren to call it off this morning.

Warren and Harrison have had numerous spats since the fighter elected to go it alone following his gold medal success, but this seems the most serious.

Harrison just 'hot air and wind'

It is hard to see how the pair's differences can be put aside to make a fight which many believe would bring out the best in both fighters and be big enough for pay-per-view.

Warren could not resist one final swipe at Harrison, urging him to follow the example of man-of-the-moment Danny Williams.

Warren added: "If Harrison is to be taken seriously in the heavyweight division then he should take a leaf out of Danny Williams' book.

"Danny went into the lion's den to beat Mike Tyson. Harrison has fallen behind Danny and Skelton who are the leaders of the British heavyweight ranks.

"If he is serious about being a respected fighter then he should prove to the British public what he is made of - which until now has been all hot air and wind."