Anth Hardy must win five or six rounds of his light-welterweight match with Sam O’maison if he is to clinch his first professional belt
That was the order from coach Peter Cope ahead of the battle of the southpaws for the British Promoters Association Challenge Belt in Rotherham tonight.
It’s no good him winning four [rounds] and drawing a couple – he’s going to have to be positive and get out and win the fightPETER COPE
The Hartlepool-trained prospect starts as the slight outsider and the away fighter at the Magna Centre, a big former steel mill turned event venue.
Both boxers are southpaws with just one defeat apiece on their records with Sheffield star O’maison the marginal favourite for the eight-round contest.
“The belt is vacant so it’s not like Anth is in with the champion, something which often seems to be worth a round or two start,” Cope told SportMail.
“But Anth is up against the home fighter so, for me, he’s going to have to win five or six rounds if he is to get the decision.
“It’s no good him winning four and drawing a couple – he’s going to have to be positive and get out and win the fight.”
The Gus Robinson Developments head coach says he is confident the 23-year-old, from Horden, can deliver against the former postman, who started his career under the tutelage of the Ingles in the Steel City.
But Cope insists Hardy must be “positive” in all that he does in this evening’s top-of-the-bill confrontation.
“Sam is pretty good, but Anth is more than capable of winning,” said the trainer. “I know O’maison is not with the Ingles any more but he’s got the sort of style and mentallity their boxers have.
“Anth needs a good start – people like Sam thrive on confidence and if he gets ahead early then it will be a hard night.
“But if Anth is positive and he gets in front then that puts negative thoughts in O’maison’s head.”
Hardy weighed in just a quarter of a pound under the weight limit for the contest 10st 2lbs, but O’maison had to spend almost an hour taking off excess weight.
“Sam was almost two pounds over,” said Cope. “His trainer said they had checked his weight earlier and thought there was a problem with the scales but they looked spot-on to us.
“He went away to take off some weight and when he came back he was lighter than Anth.
“Will it play a part on the night? I’m not sure it will, but it’s probably a bit of chew they could have done without.
“For me, I am more concerned about Anth and what he does – if he’s positive and boxes as he has in his last few contests then this fight is very winable.”