Harrison: ‘I thought I did an amazing job of walking (Jermell)Charlo down’

 Former WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Tony “Superbad” 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 in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes this Saturday, April 17 from Los Angeles.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

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.”

Perrella expects to be a different fighter with Roy Jones Jr. in his corner

Hard-hitting southpaw Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella detailed his current training camp, including what he’s learned from his new trainer, all-time great Roy Jones Jr., and previewed his upcoming showdown against former world champion Tony “Superbad” Harrison before they square off in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes Saturday, April 17 from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.

“After my last fight I went on a bit of a sparring tour,” said Perrella, detailing the origins of how he linked up with his new trainer. “I ended up sparring with some of Roy’s guys in Pensacola, and afterward he let me stay to soak up some more knowledge. The rest is history. It was an easy decision to stay out there and grow under one of the best fighters ever. It’s like going off to a university. Every day I come in with my notepad and pen ready.”

Perrella will return to the ring after suffering a disappointing defeat in his last fight in February 2020 on FOX. Perrella led on all three scorecards heading into the final round against Abel Ramos, but was stopped in the waning moments of the round. For Perrella, he’s learned from the experience, and combined with his new trainer, believes it will all end up helping him long term.

“Everything that happened with the Ramos fight has been addressed and changed,” said Perrella. “That lost sent me on the journey that led me to this new weight class and training with Roy. Everything happens for a reason, as long as you look for that reason and have faith in it. That reason has been shown to me in so many ways and it’s a huge blessing.”

After spending a majority his career fighting at 147 pounds, Perrella will fight at the super welterweight limit for the first time since his third pro fight. For the six-foot, one-inch Perrella, he believes that moving up in weight full-time will open up different aspects of his game.

“The decision to move up in weight was because of how I felt in the Ramos fight,” said Perrella. “Making 147 pounds was taking a lot out of me. I performed well, but I know how I felt in that ring. I have so much more to give as a fighter. That was really only 30% of me. Making weight was coming at a cost and I no longer thought it was helping me.

“I know these fighters at 154 are bigger and stronger, but so am I. I’m going to be stronger than ever and I’m going to be ready to tangle. I probably should have been at this weight for a while. I was always a fighter moving down in weight. I still train hard like always, but by not having to worry as much about weight, I’m able to add big layers to my game. With all these changes, I even surprise myself some days with what I can do now. I’m super confident and I can’t wait to bring it all to the ring on fight night.”

Perrella not only finds motivation from returning in a primetime main event, but from having elite opposition in the former 154-pound champion Harrison. Perrella knows that Harrison presents a versatile and difficult task, but is more than up to the challenge in front of him.

“This is a huge opportunity to fight one of the top guys at this weight,” said Perrella. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. It definitely helps motivate me to have this kind of chance on this stage against a fighter like Tony.

“Tony has different layers and dimensions to his game. He can box with his jab and length, but he can also come forward with that high guard. At this level, it’s a game of adjustments. This is going to be an interesting clash of styles. There’s no other southpaw like me. He’s sharp and has experience, but I’m a whole different kind of animal than anything he’s seen.”

With Roy Jones Jr. in his corner, Perrella believes that he has the confidence to not only come out victorious on April 17, but to make this a memorable action fight for fans watching.

“I have a unique approach and now I have Roy passing down his knowledge from his experiences,” said Perrella. “It’s like a shortcut. I’m getting the knowledge handed right to me instead of going through it not knowing what to expect. This matchup is between two strong fighters and the fans can expect an action packed fight from start to finish.”

Tony Harrison on father: ‘I’m dedicating this fight and the rest of my career to him’

Former WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Tony “Superbad” Harrison will enter the ring to face hard-hitting southpaw Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella in the super welterweight main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, April 17 from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.

Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features undefeated rising contender Omar “El Relampago” Juarez stepping up versus veteran Jessie Roman in the 10-round super lightweight co-main event. The telecast opener will see the return of sensational prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. against James Martin in an eight-round welterweight matchup.

The event will occur without fans in attendance at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall, an AEG venue, in downtown Los Angeles.

The pride of Detroit, Michigan, Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) spent his early boxing career under the late Emanuel Steward’s tutelage in the legendary Kronk Gym. 

As a professional, the 31-year-old was still considered one of the most skilled fighters in the sport despite coming up short in his first two attempts at a world title. The third time was the charm for Harrison, who shocked the boxing world in December 2018 by outpointing long-time champion Jermell Charlo to earn the WBC title in Brooklyn on FOX. Their rematch one year later ranks among the best fights of 2019. Harrison and Charlo fought mano-a-mano until Charlo stopped him in the eleventh round to regain the belt.

“Due to the pandemic, we’ve lost a lot of people over the last year, including my father Ali Salaam, and I’m dedicating this fight and the rest of my career to him,” said Harrison. “My father was always there in my corner, and I’ll continue with him right by my side spiritually. But my brother L.J. is my head trainer now, and we’re working hard to prepare for a tough fighter in Perrella. I’m coming off the longest layoff of my career, so I’m just excited to get back in action. The realest fighter in the game is coming back, and I’m glad we’re going to be bringing this fight to everyone on free TV on FOX. This fight will be fireworks, and I’ll be looking out for whenever it’s execution time. When I see the opportunity, I’ll knock his head off and put it on my mantle.”

The 31-year-old Perrella (17-3, 14 KOs) began boxing at age 15, amassing an impressive 70-9 amateur record before turning pro in 2012. Fighting out of Fort Myers, Florida, Perrella rose quickly through the pro ranks, stopping 13 of his first 14 opponents, including a second-round TKO over previously-unbeaten David Grayton in June 2016. 

Harrison is apart of the crowded and loaded 154-pound division. He battled unified champion Jermell Charlo two times and went 1-1, and if he stays on his feet in the rematch, Harrison could have won that fight as well. He was in control against Jarrett Hurd, but he got caught and was stopped in that fight, and again, if he stays on his feet, he could have won the fight. 

In this end, with his talent and ability, Harrison could easily win another title at 154.