Dublin native Thomas Hardwick, 25, is the first native Irish fighter to win a New York Daily News Golden Gloves title and this coming weekend he hopes to repeat the same performance against Earl Newman Jr, 19, in a rematch of their Golden Glove fight.
Hardwick will appear on an October 30 show at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York.
Also on the fight card is Andrew Cleary, a former Co. Kildare jockey, making his amateur debut.
Hardwick didn’t set out to woo New Yorkers with his fast punches and sharp moves but he took to the ring like a duck to water and in a short few months has made a name for himself in the amateur boxing ranks in New York City.
Hardwick, from Coolock, Co. Dublin, has been training night and day for his fight.
The Golden Gloves has been a stepping stone to professional boxing careers for many amateur boxers.
Former National Golden Gloves champions include Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr, just to name a few.
Hardwick is a multi-functional sportsman.
When not throwing punches in the ring he can be found kicking a football around Gaelic Park with the New York Football team, playing a round of golf in Yonkers or getting roughed up in a game of hurling.
“I have always had a keen interest in sports like Gaelic football, hurling and of course boxing,” Hardwick told the Irish Voice a few months ago.
Hardwick first discovered he was quick with his fists during his school days back in Dublin.
“I was always very fascinated with boxing but I first got into it in school when I was young,” he said.
“Then I won the School Boys competition the first year I entered it, fighting in the National Stadium in Dublin. I stopped the other lad in the first round,” he said proudly.
After finding his feet in New York over a year ago, Hardwick joined the YMCA boxing club in Getty Square in Yonkers, New York.
“I joined the YMCA after my roommate Johnny Mac Nicolas introduced me to his friend Andy Cleary. Andy shared the same interest and passion I had in boxing so I went to the gym with him,” said Hardwick.
Hardwick credit’s the spirit of his friend, Warren O’ Connor, who was murdered in Dublin in January, for winning the Golden Gloves."
“I decided to fight in New York in honor of Warren. That is why I am winning and that is why I just never give up. I’m doing it for him,” said Hardwick passionately.
Hardwick and O’Connor were best friends since they were children. O'Connor had gone with a friend to complain about noise coming from a nearby apartment late one Saturday night in Dublin when a row broke out and O’Connor was stabbed in the chest. He died later at Beaumont Hospital. Hardwick was devastated when the news reached him.
Hardwick is a big follower of the other Irish boxers based in the U.S. including John Duddy and Andy Lee but his all time greatest hero is “the greatest Muhammad Ali.”
“Ali always brings a smile to my face watching him in and out of the ring,” said Hardwick.
The first fight on Saturday is scheduled to kick off at 6pm.
Hardwick's fight should be around 8pm.
Gleeson's Gym is located at 77 Front St. 2nd Fl. Brooklyn, NY 11201