ANTH Hardy will face a new opponent when he bids for his fourth win as a professional boxer tomorrow night.
The Horden light-welterweight had been due to tackle Youssef Al Hamidi at the Gateshead Leisure Centre.
But the Yorkshire-based Syrian was stopped in his bout last weekend and medical rules means he faces a mandatory 28-day break from boxing.
Hardy will now come up against another durable character – Ibrar Riyaz, from Reading.
And the unbeaten Gus Robinson Developments prospect is hoping to turn on the style against the 29-year-old.
Riyaz has a poor record, but will be no pushover as Hardy pointed out.
“He’ll come and give it a go, I know that,” said the Peter Cope-trained boxer.
“He’s a game fighter and he’ll come and try to rough me up and put me out of my stride.
“But I know my skills will be too much for him if I stick to my game plan.
“Riyaz is definitely not bad, he’s boxed for a few titles in his time and challenged for the International Masters silver belt in Hull.
“He lost to Joel Haigh but it was not a walkover, Riyaz gave it a good go and went the full 10 rounds.
“He’s obviously got good ringcraft and his record proabably does not do him justice.
“I know I’ve got to box well and I’ll be looking to give my best performance so far if I can.”
Hardy has had each of his three victims to date in some discomfort but, as yet, he has not registered a stoppage success.
The 21-year-old though hopes he may be able top alter that statistic tomorrow night.
“I’ve had three wins out of three and some of them lads on the canvas,” said the former Horden Sportsman ABC southpaw.
“I’d love to get a KO on my record and this could be the one.
“I’ve prepared hard for this fight, as I always do, and I’ve sparred with Peter and Daniel Cope.
“It’s the best sparring I’ve done and I want to take that into the contest.
“The quality of work I’ve done has given me a lot of confidence going into this fight and I hope I can perform well.”
Hardy will be cheered on by a large army of fans at the Gateshead Leisure Centre, adding: “I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
l ANYONE wanting a ticket is asked to call Peter on 07815991247.