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Tony Harrison expects Bryant Perrella ‘to do his best’ – ‘it’s a fight, this isn’t cheerleading’

'My father did a great job bringing me up as a fighter to succeed against any style'

Former WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Tony Harrison shared updates from his first training camp since the passing of his father and trainer Ali Salaam, as he prepares to return to the ring against Bryant Perrella on April 17 (April 18 in Australia). The pair headlines PBC boxing fight card live on FOX from Los Angeles.

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“We’re doing things a lot more strategically these days in order to do what’s best for my age and body,” said Harrison. “I’m not a young kid anymore, so we needed to do what’s appropriate for my age, sort of like Tom Brady and what he has to do to stay at the top of his game. I have to be smart now.

“We’ve had great sparring in this camp. I’ve been working with Chordale Booker, John Vera, Lance Smith and Kedar Jainous. They’re all youthful sparring partners, which I needed so that they could push the pace and push me. I have to think fast against those young guys, which got me in the right place mentally. I think we’ve covered everything that Perrella could bring on fight night.”

‘I can make the adjustments and hold my own in any situation’

Harrison returns to the ring for the first time since his championship rematch against Jermell Charlo in December 2019 on FOX. Despite the significant layoff, Harrison is aware of the adjustments he’ll need to make returning to the ring and doesn’t believe it will deter him on fight night.

“I’m not really concerned about ring rust, but it may take a couple rounds to get acclimated and get into it,” said Harrison. “It’s a fight, this isn’t cheerleading. You just have to be able to adapt to the environment in the ring. He’s coming off a long layoff too, though. I think I actually have the edge heading into this fight.”

In the Charlo fight, Harrison was making his first title defense after winning the belt from Charlo in their first fight via a unanimous decision in December 2018. Despite losing the rematch via an 11th-round stoppage, Harrison put on a memorable performance against Charlo in a fight that was razor thin on the scorecards at the time the fight ended.

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“On a positive note, I thought I did an amazing job of walking Charlo down,” said Harrison. “That performance took my mental game to a spot where now I know what I’m capable of doing. I can push anyone back if I can push Jermell back. I had fun in there and I was confident. I know I chose the right sport for me and that fight let me know how comfortable I am in there. My father did a great job bringing me up as a fighter to succeed against any style. I can make the adjustments and hold my own in any situation.

“I learned a lot from that fight. I just have to make sure I stay focused. Also, when it comes to cutting weight, I have to do it smart and the right way. But I’ve taken every precaution this time, and I’m doing everything to help my recovery during this training camp.”

‘I’m treating this fight like I’m 0-0’

For his return to the ring, Harrison will be opposed by a tricky southpaw in Perrella, who will be making his 154-pound debut on April 17 under the tutelage of a new head trainer, all-time great Roy Jones Jr.. For Harrison however, his focus is purely on his own game and what he will bring into this showdown.

“I don’t really know that much about Perrella, just that he’s a southpaw,” said Harrison. “I know that he’s gotten some knockouts. But it’s mostly about how I’m going to move and step on fight night when I’m going up against a lefty. Like anyone on this level, I expect Perrella to come in there and do his best to compete with me. He’s no tune-up fight. I’m treating this fight like I’m 0-0 and this fight is for everything.”

Since their second fight, Charlo has gone on to add the WBA and IBF titles to the WBC belt he won back from Harrison. While Harrison knows that a future third fight against Charlo is looming and could be even bigger than the first two, his focus is squarely on passing the test April 17 first.

“I’m always looking to make a statement, but I’m not rushing into it and making mistakes that’ll cost me,” said Harrison. “I definitely want to win by knockout, but you’re never going to make everybody happy. I’m just looking to go in there and do what I know how to do. Winning is the biggest thing to me. I just need to walk away with the win. I’ve got my brother L.J. with me as my new head trainer and I’m doing this for me and my team. I know great things will come from a win, however I get it.”

The full Harrison vs Perrella fight card can be found here.

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