David Haye beats Audley Harrison to remain WBA title
David Haye beats Audley Harrison to retain his WBA heavy weight title in Manchester
Harrison crumbled under a barrage of blows as the all-British showdown briefly came to life after a tentative opening two rounds with few punches.
Haye, 30, clinically took his chance as he floored his 39-year-old fellow Londoner after less than eight minutes.
Former Olympic champion Harrison, 39, had said it was his destiny to triumph, but landed just one punch.
The fight had been marketed as ‘The Best of Enemies’ as the two former friends met in what was the biggest heavyweight clash in British boxing since Lennox Lewis beat Frank Bruno in 1993.
However Harrison, who has been criticised for failing to build on the promise of his gold at the Sydney Games in 2000, appeared nervy and offered little resistance before the fight was halted one minute and 53 seconds into the third round.
A victorious Haye said: “I told everyone I’d knock him out in three rounds.
“As soon as I started putting my punches together the fight was effectively over.
“I was hoping he would come out and try to engage a little bit more, because I’m a very good counter-puncher, but I said it wouldn’t go past three rounds.
“Adam [Booth, Haye's trainer] was happy with what I was doing because he knew eventually I’d nail him. Once I’ve got a guy hurt, they’re going over.”
The beaten older man Harrison, nicknamed ‘A-Force’, was downbeat and claimed the referee stopped the fight prematurely.
When asked if he would now retire, he replied: “I’ve got to sit down and reflect.