2005-11-05 Scott Harrison w pts 12 Nedal Hussein, Braehead Arena, Renfrew, Scotland - WBO

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2005-11-05 Scott Harrison w pts 12 Nedal Hussein, Braehead Arena, Renfrew, Scotland - WBO. Referee: Paul Thomas. Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 117-111. Ultimately proving too strong for Hussein (125½), the champion started to go to the body early on after working his way in with the jab and although getting occasionally caught by solid counters he remained resolute in his attacks. Caught off balance in the fifth, Hussein was dropped by a straight left, but was soon back in the fray as Harrison (126) continued to boss the action. Harrison, who had put on a massive 20lbs since the weigh-in, began to conserve his energy in the latter rounds and although Hussein came on strong in the final three sessions the champion held on with ease to fully deserve the victory.

Due to defend against Joan Guzman on 25 February 2006, the fight was moved on to 20 May after Harrison had dental surgery to remove a wisdom tooth. Then, in early April Guzman decided to move up a weight and was replaced by Martin Honorio, followed by Gairy St Clair when the latter went missing.

In mid May that fight was also called off after Harrison got himself arrested prior to going into a clinic suffering from depression and alcohol problems. Bearing in mind that Harrison was only allowed nine months between defences, but recognising his situation the WBO gave him a further three months ‘disability leave’ to make a defence, while also setting up an ‘interim’ title fight for 5 August 2006 which was won by Juan Manuel Marquez when he stopped Terdsak Jandaeng (Kokietgym) in the seventh round at the Montbleu Resort & Casino, Stateline, Nevada, USA.

At the end of September, having been allowed an additional months recuperation and back in training it was announced that Harrison would be meeting Nicky Cook on 7 December 2006, with the winner to defend against Marquez. Plans for the fight were then thrown into jeopardy on 6 October when Harrison was arrested in Spain for assault, but after being released on bail on 17 November and getting medical clearance from the BBBoC it was confirmed that Harrison v Cook was still going ahead on 7 December.

Meanwhile, Marquez successfully defended the ‘interim’ title when scoring a ninth-round knockout win over Jimrex Jaca at the Dodge Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, USA on 25 November.

Shockingly, Harrison was unable to make the weight for the Cook fight and with just three days to go he relinquished the title. Within days of that happening the WBO handed the belt to Marquez, but after the latter moved up to junior lightweight to capture the WBC title from Marco Antonio Barrera in March 2007 yet again the championship was vacated. Following that, Cook was matched against Steve Luevano in order to find a new champion.