Anth Hardy will be back and boxing for ring glory.
That was the message from coach Peter Cope today after Hardy was knocked out in his bid for the vacant British Promoters Challenge belt.
It’s a set-back, but that’s all it is, a set-back.
The Hartlepool-trained boxer was ruthlessly taken out by Sam O’maison in just 30 seconds in the light-welterweight match in Rotherham on Saturday night.
Next up for Hardy is another title match, against Sunderland’s Lee Mould for the Northern Area championship.
And Cope insists the 23-year-old will be up for the North-East derby, scheduled for Darlington in May.
“If Anth had been taken apart for eight rounds then you would be worried, but the bout never really got started,” Cope told SportMail.
“I’m gutted for him because of all the hard work he’s put in he never even got a fight.
“It’s a set-back, but that’s all it is, a set-back, Anth still hasn’t found his level.
“That doesn’t mean anything in way of his career.
“They weren’t lucky shots, they were two superb punches and what happened to Anth has happened to many a boxer.
“I have no doubts that he’ll come back.
“His three fights before this were all excellent performances, including a split-decision defeat for the English title.
“I am not alone in thinking he is the most-improved boxer in the North-East.
“Anth will have a short rest, but the Lee Mould bout still goes ahead, this won’t change anything.”
Hardy was full of apologies in his dressing room after the premature end to the eagerly-anticipated battle of the up-and-coming southpaws at the Magna Centre.
However, there was nothing to say sorry for.
Unless you are a Marciano or Mayweather the chances are if you trade punches for a living then you will at one stage in your career have the experience of looking up at the ring lights.
All the great champions and legends of the sport have been there, including legends like Lewis, Tyson, Hatton, Hearns et al.
Hardy said he could not remember a thing about it and that’s probably just as well - he needs to draw a line under this and move forward.
Yes, Hardy will be hurting today, his pride having taken some damage as a result of the sledgehammer one-two from O’maison just feet from the away red corner.
But defeat was no disgrace against the Sheffield fighter who extended his record to 12 wins, five inside the distance, living up to his moniker “the sensation”.
It was a superbly and brutally executed left-right, and once the Horden boxer hit the deck, you knew it was all over.
So too did Howard Foster, the referee waving it off immediately so the medics could attend to him.
Thankfully, Hardy was soon back on his feet and will soon be back in the Gus Robinson Developments gym preparing for his next challenge against Mould at the Dolphin Centre in May.
“It’s boxing, you can’t really say much more,” said Cope. “He was caught cold.
“He started positively, as we’d asked him to, got his jab out and then just got caught with two heavy shots.”