HARTLEPOOL is not short of boxing talent – in both the pro and amateur games.
Three of the town’s fight gyms boast unbeaten professional prospects – Peter Cope, Mick Hadfield and Tommy Ward to name just three.
And Hadfield, one of Hartlepool’s most decorated amateurs, gets the chance to make another statement when he boxes in Houghton-le-Spring tonight.
The 24-year-old will face fellow new pro Jack Heath at the Rainton Meadows Arena, where his promoter, Phil Jeffries, has put together an action-packed bill.
Jeffries, dad of former Olympic hero and pro Tony, has given his given his boxer a “50-50 fight”, one of several closely-matched contests.
And Hadfield believes the challenge of an ambitious 19-year-old in front of him will give him the opportunity to shine.
“It’s a good fight and I’m looking forward to getting in there,” said the former Headland ABC star.
“I’m looking for a good performance, build my experience and, of course, a win.”
Often, new pros are fed a diet of journeymen in their early career.
The opposition essentially are survivors – often wily boxers who will ask the up and coming fighter a few questions but make sure they take no risks and get through the full rounds.
But for Hadfield, and town neighbour Anth Hardy from the Gus Robinson Developments camp, there are no such near-walkovers.
Live opponents are in the away corner.
Hadfield says he is happy with such a scenario, given his comeback earlier this year included a series of competitive affairs as well as a final assault on the ABA Championship.
“It’s great to have a fight and it’s a bonus to have a live opponent,” he said.
“He’s a bit younger than me but, like me, he’s only had one bout.
“All contests in the amateurs are competitive so I’ll be looking to take that experience in there tonight.”
The former World Cadets Championship silver medallist has been hailed as “the best out of Hartlepool since Michael Hunter” by promoter Jeffries.
And given his amateur pedigree allied to an outstanding debut, the Tim Coulter-trained fighter should have no problems winning tonight.
Nor should he have trouble getting up towards British title standard.
“What Phil said has not put any pressure on me,” Hadfield told SportMail.
“It’s just nice to hear that people think highly of me.
“But I don’t think too far ahead, it’s one fight at a time for me.”
Top of the bill tonight is an English title derby between Sunderland’s Kirk Goodings and Paul Truscott, from Middlesbrough.
Horden southpaw Hardy has his second pro bout, another all North East affair, against Newcastle’s Chris Bennett. Easington’s Paul Archer is also in action along with a host of other fighters from the region.