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.
Bonin was retreating under pressure when referee John Keane leapt in to stop the fight and the challenger complained bitterly. The crowd jeered and
booed in frustration as Bonin showed he had plenty left in the tank by running round the ring and leaping onto the corner post.
Harrison said; "He is a guy who came in at 26 and 0 and he did not want to lose his record.
"The referee sees the action. He is the third man in the ring and sees what he sees.
"He was very definitely hurt and turned away from the referee so, yes, he was definitely right to make the decision."
But, after his toughest fight since turning professional after winning the Olympic super-heavyweight gold medal at Sydney 2000, Harrison felt he had
been denied a more convincing victory.
The BBC are ditching Harrison after this fight and he said; "I would have liked to have finished with a knockout but the referee made the decision.
I knew he was hurt and thought I would have taken him out in the next round."
Harrison was ahead on the scorecards of all three judges, leading 78-75 and 77-76 twice but several ringside reporters believed Bonin was winning the
fight due to a higher work rate. After being taken the full 12 rounds by 39-year-old veteran former British champion Julian Francis in his last fight
in April, Harrison had to endure a long haul again.
He began by going to the body but 29-year-old Bonin, with a wealth of amateur experience embracing 158 contests - many at international level - and 26
straight pro-victories showed he had come to fight. Several times Bonin got inside the southpaw jab of the champion to put him under pressure.
Bonin was getting through with his own jab but, in the third round, it momentarily looked as though Harrison was heading for an early night. After
being forced to fight by a right over the top, which shook him, Harrison came back with a left uppercut.
He forced Bonin back to the ropes with a two-fisted assault and then a wicked left uppercut spun the challenger through 360 degrees. Harrison followed
up with two more big lefts but the Pole was fighting back by the end of the round.
Bonin appeared to take the fourth on sheer work rate and, at the start of the fifth, fired a short right to the jaw. Harrison took the hint, started
boxing behind his jab and when he did that he looked in control - but he did not do it often enough.
Bonin came back again with a short right up the middle which caught the champion flush on the jaw. As the bell went to finish the round Harrison
caught Bonin with a fractionally late punch and immediately apologised. A straight left put Harrison on the offensive again and Bonin looked under
pressure again when he was trapped in a neutral corner.
In the final seconds of the round Harrison was finally exerting his authority with Bonin starting to look ragged. Harrison was still not having things
his own way and, by the ninth round, was bleeding from the nose after taking two really heavy punches.
But then he fired back with what proved to be the final assault although the crowd appeared justified in venting their anger at a decidedly
premature-looking stoppage. Harrison, who has had three title fights this year, now intends to take a break.
"I have had three fights back to back and will take a rest before deciding on my next fight,"
During that time Harrison, who insists on maintaining his independence by promoting himself through his A-Force company will meet promoter Frank
Warren to try and thrash a 50-50 deal for a showdown with Matt Skelton, the British and Commonwealth champion.
Those talks could provide him with an equally tough fight as Bonin brought to the Alexandra Palace.