Results from Glasgow
It’s not hard to see why Scott Harrison needs boxing. The rugged Scot has endured a spate of out of the ring incidents over the last few years. Drink, drugs, depression, alleged assault, bankruptcy, prison time and a withdrawn license. It’s obvious to say his rap sheet does not make for easy reading. On Friday night, however, Harrison returned to his place of work, looking good in hammering out young Hungarian Gyorgy Miszei Jr within four one-sided rounds.
To say he is back to his best is presumptuous, but Harrison can sleep easy tonight, safe in the knowledge that he has successfully returned to the sport that has given so much to him, and he has given so much back to. A raucous crowd turned up, delighted at the prospect of seeing their hero in between the ropes once again after what seemed like a never ending merry-go-round of setbacks and uncertainties.
The 34-year-old Harrison pressed the action from the sound of the opening bell, shaking off six years of ring rust by getting to work with combinations and landing a big right hand over the top. The young Hungarian is extremely tall, but his lanky frame offered up glaring opportunities for Harrison to attack to the body, something he took full advantage of, pounding away at Miszei’s ribcage with hooks from both sides. Miszei had nothing to keep the returning hero off of him, his jab was ineffective and he looked comparatively weak, fading in the foreground of Harrison’s sturdy, muscle-bound physique. Harrison belted the young upstart to the canvas on three occasions in the second round, all through rattling left hooks to the mid-section. Come the fourth it was clear where the fight was headed, and after a series of rights to the head, Miszei went down, upon which Victor Loughlin wisely called a halt to proceedings.
Harrison is ambitious, stating he hopes for a world title shot in future, but at the same time he remained grounded, admitting his key motivation was “getting (his) life back on track”. On this performance there should be no fears in firing him into the bustling British Lightweight mix, where fights with his compatriot Ricky Burns as well as the likes of Kevin Mitchell, John Murray and Gavin Rees would be both exciting match-ups and good business. Perhaps Harrison’s father, Peter, best summed up the consensus feeling at his son’s return — when asked if he felt Scott was ready for the aforementioned fighters, he sounded out the challenge, “Are they ready for him?”
John Simpson and Paul Appleby go to war again
It’s difficult to think of any quality domestic fighters John Simpson has not fought in and around the 125-130 lb weight range over the years. The gritty and experienced Scot has nine defeats on his ledger, but only one by stoppage (a body shot), and he has no problem letting his fists go. Paul Appleby is the younger man by half a decade; however the toil of his career to date saw him enter the ring just as battle hardened.
From the get-go Simpson set about with his jab, pumping it out into the face of the forward-charging Appleby as he marched in. The left hook also became effective for Simpson in the second as Appleby looked to up the pace. By the third the fight was developing into a high intensity phone-booth tussle as both struggled for the initiative. In the fourth, Appleby had issues finding Simpson, who was boxing well on the back foot.
The fifth, however, offered a different story as Appleby targeted and worked over Simpson’s body, attacking it relentlessly with hooks and uppercuts. Seemingly winded, Simpson held a lower guard, but regained his composure in the sixth before finishing his younger opponent with aplomb. Having been caught once again by a combination, Appleby smiled in a tell-tale signature of acknowledgement of Simpson’s power and accuracy. With both throwing simultaneously, Appleby caught a left hook high on the temple, causing him to lose balance and fall to his knees.
The end was in sight and Simpson sealed victory in ruthless fashion, an overhand right jarring Appleby, who toppled face-first to the canvas. It was a violent end, particularly when considering Appleby and Simpson are not far removed gym-buddies and the former attended the latter’s wedding!
For Appleby, the defeat is a career warning sign. At just 24 years of age, the young man from Edinburgh has been in bruising fights and his soft skin often reddens quickly nowadays. Questions will abound as to where he goes from this crushing defeat. For Simpson, bigger things now await him at Super-Featherweight. Now working with a strength and conditioning coach, he looked back to his best and can expect more domestic brawls to come his way in the future.