ANTH Hardy is ready to fight again “next week” after making a successful professional debut.
The new Gus Robinson Developments boxer saw off seasoned campaigner Matt Seawright at the Summer Rumble yesterday.
Hardy, cheered on by a large contingent of fans at the Stadium of Light, looked on the verge of stopping his opponent right at the end of the contest, only for timekeeper Stewart Lithgo’s final bell to come to the rescue of the 35-year-old, from Tamworth.
The Horden southpaw, who had ‘Hitman’ weaved into the back of his shorts connected with a beauty to the head of Seawright.
The Midlander instinctively hung on to Hardy like a drowning man clinging on to a lifebelt and the end of the bout came seconds later.
“He was gone, his legs went,” said the 21-year-old. “I felt his weight come on to my arms and I knew I had him.
“I’d have loved another round, even another 10 or 15 seconds!
“Unlucky for me, I did not get the chance to finish it.”
The threat of a spectacular finale was in stark contrast to what had gone on previously.
Round one was a cagey affair with a three-punch Hardy combination at the end of it but the second session was marred by constant grappling and the third was just as scrappy.
“One round to go, let’s tidy it up,” urged Billingham referee Graeme Williams ahead of the final three minutes.
Seawright, chasing his third win in five contests, launched some huge swings, which all missed, while Hardy countered nicely and got through with one good combination.
He almost stopped him but had to settle for a 39-37 decision.
“I was as nervous as hell before the fight,” admitted Hardy. “I warmed into it and I will thrive on stuff like this.
“There’s no better feeling than fighting in front of crowds like that.
“I want more contests. Seriously, I’d fight next week if I could.”