Audley Harrison put on a decent display to sign off his BBC television contract with victory over Tomasz Bonin.
The London heavyweight defended his WBF title with a ninth-round stoppage to dent the unbeaten record of the Pole.
But he was made to work hard by Bonin, who found a way to overcome a massive reach deficit to land menacing blows.
Harrison's best work came in fits and starts, but he connected with shots in the third and sixth, before the referee called a controversial end to the
Harrison went into the contest with a huge weight advantage, knowing he needed a dominant performance to help himself land further fight deals.
And the 32-year-old started positively with some stinging, southpaw jabs.
Warsaw-based Bonin showed he had come to fight when he muscled his way inside in the second round.
But the Pole was stung by a big round-the-corner punch from Harrison in an emphatic display by the Briton in the third.
Despite a few lapses and lulls, Harrison retained control for the majority of the fight, but was given a bloody nose for his troubles in the eighth
before getting on top again.
Referee John Keane's decision to stop the bout was greeted by boos from fans at London's Alexandra Palace and by a show of protest by Bonin, who felt
he was fit to continue.
But although the fighters were close on points at the time, Harrison looked on course for an imminent knockdown.
Unsurprisingly, the Briton refused to question the referee.
"Bonin put in a great and a gutsy performance.
"But he was very definitely hurt and turned away from the referee so, yes, he was definitely right to make the decision."
"It's been a really hard time," Harrison said of the instability surrounding his boxing future.
"I'm taking a break from boxing for six months. I'm still undefeated and we're sitting with Frank Warren about a fight with [British heavyweight
champion] Matt Skelton."
Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2004/06/19 22:39:22 GMT
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