Big things were expected of Britain’s Audley Harrison when the 2000 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist turned professional after signing a £1million deal with the BBC.
It was far from a match made in heaven as Harrison adjusted to the paid ranks with bouts against little-known fighters but he was 10-0 as he stepped into the ring with Tomasz Bonin on this day 16 years ago.
Harrison weighed 20lbs more than his opponent and was nearly five inches taller, but those advantages did not translate into dominance as Bonin found his way inside in the early stages at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Stinging shots in the third and sixth rounds allowed Harrison to gain control and although the then 32-year-old did have his nose bloodied, the referee, somewhat controversially, ended proceedings in the ninth.
It was another unsatisfactory victory for the Londoner, despite handing the Pole his first professional defeat and regaining the lightly-regarded WBF heavyweight crown.
A year later, he would suffer back-to-back defeats to Danny Williams and Dominick Guinn and though he later fought for a major world title, he put in a meek performance to lose to David Haye. He retired with a record of 31 wins and seven losses.