Across the Pond II
By Julian Kasdin (December 7, 2005)  
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This weekend has some important fights coming up on the other side of the Atlantic, one of the fights being for major world title, and one of them being Audley Harrison’s attempt to become a force in the division. While some people, though I doubt many, will order the Harrison vs. Williams pay-per-view, many people will not see these big fights. It is a shame we do not get to see the fights held in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom and Germany, hopefully one day HBO and Showtime, or maybe even ESPN can work out a deal and show us what we are missing.

The first bout, and the one we will all be able to see if we have access to and order PPV, is Audley ‘A-Force’ Harrison, 19-0 (14), against Danny ‘The Brixton Bomber’ Williams, 33-4 (28), in what is the biggest all British heavyweight bout since Lennox Lewis vs. Frank Bruno in 1993. Danny Williams is probably better known to American fans for his four round destruction of Mike Tyson, and also the beating he took for eight rounds against Vitali Klitschko. Danny is a very strong and big fighter, he is also more talented then people realize, he has much more professional experience then Harrison, but he also has more mileage on him due to losses to Samil Sam and Klitschko. Harrison is a former Olympic gold medalist, and has done what he has had to do going through the usual suspects on the way up. He is a very big fighter, who happens to be skilled and possessed of faster then average hand speed. Harrison has been largely criticized for his quality of opposition, and the Williams fight is a huge step up in class. If Audley wins he will silence many critics and possibly move himself into position for a title shot. Audley will probably use his reach and height advantage to keep Danny at bay throughout the fight, and his power and speed will work wonders in keeping Danny honest throughout. Danny Williams is a tough fighter, but he is not as good as Harrison, and it is that slight difference in ability that should allow Audley to win by either late stoppage or wide decision.

From Germany this Saturday we have a major middleweight showdown, pitting Kingsley ‘Sharp Knuckle’ Ikeke, 23-1 (13), against Arthur Abraham, 18-0 (16), in a fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title. This fight is not important for the title that is at stake; instead it is important because it pits two top contenders against each other in a fight that should guarantee the winner a shot against the champion, Jermain Taylor. Ikeke is coming off the biggest win of his career, a tenth round TKO over Antwun Echols, in a fight that showed Ikeke displaying good skill and use of his physical tools, in dissecting the tough veteran. Ikeke’s nickname really came into play has he caused half of Echol’s face to swell to the point where it was not possible for him to continue. Ikeke also took some of Echol’s bombs flush on the chin, leading one to believe that Ikeke can take a heavy shot decently well.

Ikeke’s opponent, Arthur Abraham is a young, skilled, and powerful fighter, who recently defeated Howard Eastman rather decisively. The fight saw Abraham out muscle and out slug Eastman, as well as outbox him, it also showed that Abraham has a good chin as he took some of Eastman’s shots flush and was able to keep on going. The fight between Ikeke and Abraham should be an explosive one as both men have power and both are skilled. While Ikeke’s 6’4” frame is usually an advantage for him, I think against Abraham it will become a liability. Abraham has shown a willingness to go to the body viciously, and Ikeke’s long frame presents an excellent target. I think Ikeke has some early success with the jab, but Abraham’s underrated defense will allow him to get inside and land powerful shots to the body, which will eventually slow down Ikeke and sap him of his energy. I think that the younger and stronger Abraham has enough to beat Ikeke, and after damaging the tall Nigerian’s body it will only be a matter of time before Abraham goes in for the kill. I see the young Armenian, Arthur Abraham, winning this bout by late stoppage, and making a case for his right to fight Taylor.
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