One of the North-East’s brightest talents has been forced to hang up his gloves at the age of only 26
Horden’s Anthony Hardy, who boxed out of the Gus Robinson Developments gym in Hartlepool, has conceded defeat to a long-standing eye problem.
The quality southpaw announced his decision on social media and the reaction from boxing people, as well as family and friends, showed the esteem in which he is held.
“Due to recurring corneal abrasions (cuts on the surface of the eyeballs) I am having to hang my gloves up and retire as a professional boxer,” he said. “I’ve had 13 fights as a pro, winning 10.
“I fought for two professional titles and can always say I gave my all to the sport.
“Huge appreciation to Peter Cope Snr. and Alan Temple who have guided me in my pro career. Not forgetting any coach who put their time into me in the amateur days. Thanks for the memories!”
Hardy bows out with a fine record of 10-3, with his last appearance being a great effort in London last September when he was stopped by Jez Smith in five rounds at the York Hall.
Never afraid to travel, Anth’s only losses came against top opposition on the road, a 2015 split-decision points loss for the English title against Joe Hughes, a caught-cold first-round KO at the hands of Sam O’maison in 2016 and that stoppage to Smith.
The contest with Hughes in Bath was almost his finest hour as he produced an outstanding effort against the man who is the current European light-welterweight champion. One judge scored it in Anth’s favour but the other two officials went with Joe, leaving Hardy beaten though with his honour firmly intact.
A product of the Horden ABC club, Hardy turned pro in 2013 and won seven times inside his first two years for coaches Peter Cope (pictured right) and Alan Temple (pictured left).
Luck has not always been with him, injury, illness and that eye trouble have been constant opponents, interrupting any flow to his career.
One case in point was the collapse of a Northern Area title derby at the 2017 Summer Rumble with friend and neighbour, Darren Surtees, who was forced to pull out with tonsillitis.
Struggling with blurred vision, Anth had laser eye surgery a couple of years ago, but despite the op and over a year out, it never seemed to go away.
“Anth’s probably the the unluckiest fighter I’ve ever known,” said Cope. “I feel for him.
“Last year when he came back, we said we’d be giving it a proper go.
“That’s what we did and Anth did himself proud against Jez Smith.
“Anth’s a very good boxer and he’s been an absolute privilege to train. He’s been an outstanding professional, he’s lived the right life and always trained hard.
“He’s a great lad too but his health is most important and everyone wishes Anth well.”
Words: Roy Kelly Picture: Tom Collins/ East Durham Life