Tony Harrison: “Boxing is a lonely sport”

American boxer Tony Harrison discusses the darker sides of boxing, his father’s passing and the loss to Jermell Charlo in a candid and emotional interview.

Video Transcript

CHRIS MANNIX: Condolences to you. We haven't spoken since your father passed away. And I know-- I mean, such a profound impact he had, obviously on your life, but on your boxing career as well as your trainer. How are you doing with all that?

TONY HARRISON: I think everything has been-- it's been tough. But you know, it's life, for real, you know what I'm saying? Like, life just happened a little faster than I expected it to. But you know, it's life. It's the struggle, you know, losing somebody you've seen your whole life and have been with your whole life. But I'm dealing with it pretty fairly, you know what I'm saying? Like, it was hard at first, but I'm dealing with it pretty fairly.

And his legacy continues. And I understand how to make it continue and not disappoint him in the ways that I know I could disappoint him in. And fighting is one of the ways where we kind of came together, and we kind of understood each other in a different kind of language. And I'm going to continue to do that for him.

CHRIS MANNIX: You mentioned Bryant Perrella. That's your next opponent. Be your first fight since December of 2019, when you lost your title to Jermell Charlo in the rematch. When you look back on that fight-- and I was in California ringside for it. It was a competitive fight up until the 11th round, when you got caught, and you got stopped. What was your takeaway from that fight?

TONY HARRISON: My takeaway was not even in the fight. It's just before the fight. Just, you know, I can't-- and this sport of boxing, they say, is very lonely. And when my dad used to tell me that, I used to-- I never could understand, like, how is it lonely when I got y'all by my side, you know, [INAUDIBLE] doing this stuff together?

But lonely means-- it's like no other sport. You can't take any shortcuts. And I tend to find a way to snack on little [MUTED] I'm not supposed to be snacking on at some times, eating kind of [MUTED] I'm not [MUTED] eat, getting card that I ain't supposed to get. And I think that part is the reason I made it so hard to make that weight. That fight [INAUDIBLE] I made the weight. I killed my body to do it, you know what I'm saying?

And that was-- I think that was the hardest part of the fight, for me, before I even fought, you know what I'm saying? And I took my body through hell to do it because I-- like I said, it's lonely, man. And you got to do [INAUDIBLE] right because nobody's looking. And lonely means not that you're by yourself. It's just, nobody's looking when you're doing [MUTED] you're doing that could cost you your championship or your wins or your losses.

CHRIS MANNIX: Do you still feel like there's unfinished business, though, between you and Jermell Charlo? Is that rubber match still what you want the most?

TONY HARRISON: For me, I don't even [INAUDIBLE] fight news or boxing hype to understand, like, I'm a fighter. I'm a competitor, you know what I'm saying? Like, I never want it to be a race. I beat you. You beat me. And we just call that [MUTED] quits, you know what I'm saying? Like, I'm from Detroit. We-- I'm a competitor. And that's [INAUDIBLE] I love to compete, man. And to be at that level, to compete at that level, for the kind of hatred that we got for each other, I don't understand why it wouldn't be a rubber match.

And I roll him on Instagram myself. And this was man to man. Even though he hate me and I hate him, I told him, congratulations for unifying. But I need my third match. And I said, I don't [INAUDIBLE] for the belt. Like, we can [INAUDIBLE] but I don't want to go-- I don't want to retire out of this sport of boxing and say me and Jermell Charlo [INAUDIBLE]. Like, I don't-- that's not what I want, you know what I'm saying? [INAUDIBLE] want to break that. And I think it'd be great for the sport. He know it'd be great for the sport. He know that the fans want to see that again.