ANTH Hardy may not have got the fight he wanted – but the Hartlepool and Horden boxer is excited to be tripping the Light fantastic again.
Hardy made his pro debut on the 2013 Summer Rumble – but admits he was too nervous to enjoy it fully.
But the 22-year-old says he will lap it all up at the Stadium of Light on Sunday when he faces Barnsley’s Jamie Zaszlos.
“The Summer Rumble is a great show,” Hardy told SportMail.
“I will enjoy it more this time – I won’t have as much nerves.
“Last year I was shaking like a leaf, but this time I will go in full of confidence.
“I’ve won all my four fights so far and I’ll relish Sunday, the fight, the stadium, the atmosphere, everything.”
Hardy will have a small army cheering him on from the main stand at Sunderland’s football ground.
“A few of my fans can’t make it because of holidays,” he said.
“But I’ll still have a small army there – it will sound like it anyway, they always make a lot of noise.”
The decibel levels will certainly be raised if Hardy could pull off his first stoppage win.
The Horden southpaw has troubled each of his four victims with his power – Chris Bennett and Lee Gibbons have both visited the canvas – but every fight has gone to the referee’s scorecard.
It will be difficult for Hardy to floor Zaszlos – the 31-year-old will have a sizable weight advantage and he has never been stopped, despite a run of 10 straight defeats.
“He boxed at the Gateshead show where I beat Ibrar Riyaz,” said Hardy. “I didn’t see his fight against Tom Whitfield because I was getting ready for my bout.
“He’ll come and try to spoil and get through the rounds.
“I was over the moon with my last fight against Riyaz and I want to build on that performance.”
Hardy v Zaszlos is part of a seven-bout bill which is topped by Jonson McClumpha’s International Masters middleweight title match with Doncaster’s Jason Ball.
Hardy’s Gus Robinson Developments team-mate Daniel Cope is also in action, as is big-hitting Sunderland fighter Glenn Foot.
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