Audley makes retirement u-turn
Audley Harrison has confirmed his return to boxing - less than three weeks after announcing his retirement.
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The 2000 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medalist decided to call time on his professional career on May 1 after being knocked out inside 70 seconds against hard-hitting Deontay Wilder in Sheffield last month.
However, Harrison has gone back on his decision, with a statement on his official website saying: "Recently retired Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison has announced his return to the ring immediately."
The defeat to American Wilder in south Yorkshire was Harrison's second first-round defeat in recent months, having been stopped inside 82 seconds against fellow Briton David Price in October last year.
Many in the boxing community were relieved when Harrison (31-7, with 23 knockout wins) finally announced the end of a decidedly mediocre professional career, but it would appear the 41-year-old has struggled to accept his decision.
He revealed he had sought advice from former world heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and David Haye, as well as his family, but pointed to the birth of his son as the reason for his return to the ring.
"When I made the tough decision to walk away from boxing, I knew it was not going to be easy," Harrison said.
"As the days past (sic), I knew I would not be able to live with the decision. I wrestled with it for a few weeks, and spoke to everyone from the Boxing Board, to Lennox Lewis, David Haye, my dad, wife and many others... ultimately seeing my son born crystallised my decision.
"There is no way I am going to tell my son, 'I gave up because I didn't want to climb the mountain again, I didn't want to dust myself off again, when I'm now in the best shape of my career, doing things I haven't done for years, and back in love with the sport...'
"How can I retire, when I know I have another shot in me?
"If I don't get up and try again, everything I've stood for would mean nothing, setbacks pave the way for comebacks, etc, etc, I believe it, so I have to live it, and go again.
"We all saw how the fight ended, which was not right. I can't walk away with that performance. If I do, it would haunt me until I'm old and grey. I got up, they should have let him come to finish me, and let me show what I got.
"People who worry I may get hurt, I thank you for your concerns. We live in a free society and my desire for freedom and autonomy is my universal right."
Harrison became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in Sydney nearly 13 years ago, but the closest he has come to glory as a professional was a world title fight against Haye in November 2010, when he was criticised in all quarters after appearing to freeze on the grandest stage before being stopped in the third round.
His stock has been sent crashing by two first-round defeats and his comeback will leave many scratching their heads as to how he can achieve his goals.