ANTH Hardy took another significant step forwards in his boxing career by winning his fourth contest as a professional.
The Horden boxer produced his best performance yet by outpointing experienced Berkshire fighter Ibrar Riyaz at Gateshead Leisure Centre.
Hardy had impressed in his first three wins, having all of his opponents in some sort of difficulty in each fight.
And while on Saturday night he did not send Riyaz to the canvas it was his most impressive display to date as he enjoyed a shut-out 40-36 points victory.
It left the Gus Robinson Developments corner of Peter Cope and Alan Temple, plus the large band of Hardy fans, feeling very happy.
“He did really well,” said head coach Cope.
“We were looking for some type of consistency from Anth and that’s what we got.
“We all know Anth can fight but instead of doing well for two or three rounds and then losing his way a little, this time he put it together for the whole contest.
“I was proper pleased with him.
“As an amateur, Anth was a counter-puncher but now as a pro he knows he’s now in fights not boxing matches.
“He is now aware it is up to him to take the fight to his opponents.
“On Saturday night if Anth had stood back, Riyaz would happily have just coasted through the rounds and picked up his money and said thank you and goodnight.
“But you can see Anth is turning into a pro – he showed a big improvement and he’s going in the right direction.
“The beauty is that he’s only 22, he’s still learning and there’s plenty of time.
“We can build on this, he’s definitely going in the right direction.”
Hardy had the height and reach advantage against the 28-year-old, from Slough.
And the Gus Robinson Developments southpaw put it to good use.
Hardy did not miss with his jab and started to land with some long lefts as the round wore on.
Round two saw him reel off a succession of right-left combinations and while Riyaz did land a right hook of his own, there were no problems for the “Horden Hitman”.
Riyaz stood his ground in the third round and at one point even beckoned Hardy in to fight.
And he did not need an invitation as he launched combination after combination to the head of his opponent.
Riyaz ended the round with a cut to his right eye, from a clash of heads, but it did not threaten his participation for the final three minutes.
The round went the same way as the others, Hardy dominating with his sharp fists.
Referee Andrew Wright gave Hardy all four rounds.
In the main event, Birtley’s Craig Dixon outpointed Poland’s Sylwester Walczak over eight rounds to lift the International Masters bronze belt.