Fearsome Price stuns Harrison

Blackpool Citizen: David Price, right, knocked Audley Harrison, left, out after 82 seconds David Price, right, knocked Audley Harrison, left, out after 82 seconds

David Price retained his British and Commonwealth titles with a brutal first-round knockout of Audley Harrison that almost certainly sends the former Olympic champion into retirement.

A quiet opening unravelled rapidly for Harrison as soon as he tasted the fearsome power Price carries in his right hand and after just 82 seconds he lay prone on the canvas.

"I shocked myself again really with the power in my punches," Price said. "I didn't expect to do that to Audley Harrison so quickly. If anything I thought I'd break him down over a period of time and get to him after a good few rounds."

By his own admission, Harrison was drinking in the last chance saloon - a place he seems to have resided for quite a while - and stated a sixth professional loss would end a career of perplexing underachievement.

The last time Harrison topped the bill in a packed north west arena he was dispatched by David Haye in an embarrassingly timid display in Manchester two years ago next month. On that occasion, a countryman operating at a higher level allowed him two untroubled rounds before administering the finishing touches. Price did not give him the luxury.

A national hero when he brought gold home from Sydney 12 years ago, a stark demonstration of how far the 40-year-old has fallen in the public's affections came when he walked to the ring to a chorus of boos and chants of "Who are you?" before Liverpool's Echo Arena crowd opted for a courser version. By contrast, ardent Liverpool fan Price was afforded a spine-tingling reception to the strains of You'll Never Walk Alone.

The two giant combatants initially came cautiously to the middle of the ring, Harrison stalking behind a high guard. The veteran landed the first punch of the contest, but his left to the chest was of little consequence. When Price finally connected, it was anything but.

Finding the range with a jab more inquisitive than authoritative, Price detonated a fierce straight right that caught Harrison flush on the chin and sent him reeling towards the ropes. As when Haye had Harrison in trouble, Price scented blood and would not relent.

Harrison covered up under the inevitable barrage that followed - briefly to reasonable effect - but he had nowhere to go. A chopping Price right-hook got through forcing Harrison's head to rock sickeningly back over the ropes, prompting referee Howard Foster to step in as further punishment rained down and the defeated fighter slumped flat on the floor.

Price has now knocked out 12 of 14 opponents faced in an unblemished career to date and he looked every inch the heir to the Klitschko brothers. But it is questionable how much can be taken out of a win against a man who has squandered his talent and now serves only as a cautionary tale to 2012's golden generation.

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