Anth Hardy takes to the ring at Bath Pavillion tonight knowing victory over Joe Hughes will be a “life-changing moment.”
The Horden boxer, who fights out of Hartlepool’s Gus Robinson Developments gym, takes on the Wiltshire man for the vacant English light-welterweight title.
It will be a life-changing moment for me if I can beat Joe HughesAnth Hardy
It is a massive opportunity for the 23-year-old, who combines working at Shotton Hall School with his boxing career.
And, should he upset the odds this evening, he would be in line to follow in the ringsteps of North-East neighhbour Anthony Nelson.
The South Shields boxer made the jump from English champion to Commonwealth winner and Hardy would be in the mix for even bigger nights with a victory in this 10-rounder.
“It will be a life-changing moment for me if I can beat Hughes,” said Hardy.
“If I can win the English title, the world’s my oyster, I could be challenging for the British title in two or three fights time.
“I’d be in good fights and boxing for good money and my name would be out there.
“This is a great chance for me.”
Should Hardy miss out, it could still prove a step forward for a boxer who has won all seven of his bouts to date but has yet to fight in higher company.
Hughes is knocking on the door already, having racked up 11 wins, the last three all for varying degrees of titles - International Masters, Southern Area and IBO International.
The 24-year-old, from Malmesbury, also carries some punch, stopping five opponents on the way.
While Hardy has no stoppage wins, he is not devoid of power and has a decent left, and has a significant height and reach advantage.
It is something he must use and while he rates Hughes highly, he is confident he can upset the formbook.
“He comes forward and loves throwing his left hook a lot,” said the southpaw.
“But if he thinks he’s going to rush on to me early on, then he’s got another thing coming.
“With his height and style, you’d have to say he’s tailor-made for me, I will be able to counter him all day.”
The pair met for the first time yesterday when they weighed in at Bath Pavillion.
Hardy came in dead on 10st while Hughes weighed in 10st.
The former Horden Sportsman ABC star had only coach Peter Cope for company yesterday but will have former amateur and pro champ Alan Temple in his corner this evening as well as family and fans in the audience.
“There is a busfull coming down and it will be nice to have my support here,” he added.
Hardy is not the only local fighter in action this evening.
Unbeaten Sedgefield light-welter Jeff Saunders is in action on the big Manchester Arena bill, facing Hungary’s Istvan Kiss over four rounds.