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Boxing champ builds community ties | www.theacorn.com | The Acorn

Audley Harrison of Westlake Village—a boxer, philanthropist and business owner—has followed a path not taken by many.

The 40-year-old fighter inflicted a flurry of punches to achieve a fourth-round stoppage against Ali Adams, an opponent 10 years younger than himself, during a boxing match May 26 at the Brentwood Center in Essex near London.

A former European heavyweight title holder, Harrison earned a gold medal in the super heavyweight division at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

The champ also owns Salon Nuuvo in Calabasas with his wife, Raychel.

Despite their busy careers, the Harrisons, who have one daughter, try to give time to their school community as well.

“ No rest for the wicked,” says Audley Harrison, who is a member of Together Helping Education Foundation, a local volunteer group that raises funds for Las Virgenes schools. His wife volunteers at White Oak Elementary School in Westlake

Village.

Despite his age, Harrison is finding it hard to step away from his first love—boxing.

Following a three-round loss to David Haye in November 2010, Harrison accepted a challenge from Adams to become International Masters Champion. But Harrison vowed to walk away from boxing for good if he lost the comeback fight.

“After my disappointment with the Haye fight, it really was about, do I have anything left to offer to boxing? And Ali Adams provided me with the perfect test to see,” Harrison said.

“The majority of the boxing pundits thought (Adams) would end my career,” said Harrison, who is now seeking endorsement from English boxing officials to be the next challenger for the British Heavyweight Title.

The recent match was coined “redemption or retirement.”

“I really wanted to see if I could come back and fight a young brash fighter and still perform. I still believe I have something to offer on the world stage, but I accept I’m in the final stages of my career, so I want to see how far I can go and get back to the top,” Harrison said.

He’s targeting British and Commonwealth Champion David Price for his next fight.

“A victory over him will land me right on the doorsteps of challenging for a world title again,” Harrison said.

But before he can resume his training regimen, the 6-foot-5 athlete will have to recover from a left shoulder injury he received in the Adams match.

“Any more major injuries or losses, it’s over,” Harrison said.

“I’m so proud of Audley,”said Raychel, his wife. “He went through so much this training camp and never gave up on himself.”

Raychel remained home taking care of family and business matters and said it was one of only a few times she’s been unable to watch her husband perform in the ring.

“I was on edge all morning with anticipation,”said the wife, who was working at her salon and felt relieved when she learned of her husband’s victory.

Harrison plans to attend a dinner gala June 9 hosted by THE Foundation that will help raise money for local schools. The event will take place at the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center.

Boxing champ builds community ties | www.theacorn.com | The Acorn.

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