TWO fights and two wins.
That is the perfect record for Hartlepool boxing neighbours Mick Hadfield and Anth Hardy after the second professional contests of their careers.
Hadfield, from the Headland gym, won in just two rounds against Jack Heath at Houghton-le-Spring on Saturday night, while Gus Robinson Developments prospect Hardy floored Chris Bennett on the way to a points victory on the same show.
The two ‘Hs’ both began their pro careers on the same day back in July when they outpointed journeymen at the Summer Rumble.
Up and coming talent like these local heroes are often fed a diet of boxing mercenaries in the early throes of their careers.
But promoter Phil Jeffries has changed course somewhat and has vowed top stage “50-50” fights.
So there were no ‘gimmes’ at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Saturday night – the wins had to be earned and they certainly were with both Hadfield and Hardy impressing.
Hadfield was the first into the ring against Heath, who carries the moniker “Crackerjack”.
And, on the evidence of the first three minutes, there seemed ample justification for such a name. While Hadfield was in no way troubled, Heath began the four-rounder in lively fashion, hitting and moving, landing repeatedly to the Poolie’s head.
Over such sprint-distances, boxers cannot allow a rival to establish a gap.
And Hadfield made sure he took a grip on the fight – with both hands.
The 24-year-old landed punch after punch to the head and body of Heath and you could see the confidence drain out of the Maidenhead featherweight.
When the 21-year-old reached the safety of the stool, his coach called over referee Steve Hawkins and told him his boxer could not continue because of a problem to his right wrist.
The official accepted the retirement, giving Hadfield his second victory and first by stoppage.
Headland coach Tim Coulter said: “They reckoned he was injured but you could see him wince every time Mick hit him. He was feeling the shots.”
Hardy was forced to go the distance but Bennett certainly felt the Horden star’s power near the end of their North-East derby.
Bennett, the smaller of the two boxers, may have lacked height and reach but he did not lack aggression.
The Geordie, who went into the bout, like Hardy, having won his first appearance, was on the attack from the off.
But every time he came forward, he walked into the right hand of the southpaw.
It was a pattern which lasted the full four rounds.
True, Bennett was trying to force the issue but all the scoring punches came from the 21-year-old.
And with 30 seconds to go, the Newcastle fighter was making a visit to the canvas. Hardy’s right set up an opening for a big left and he did not miss.
Bennett was up quickly and held on to the final bell, when Hardy got Mark Curry’s verdict 39-37. This reporter had it wider at 40-36, but the winning name was correct.
Gus Robinson Developments head coach Peter Cope said: “In my view, I don’t think he lost a round.
“There were a couple of close rounds, but all the quality work came from Anth.”