Heavyweight Thomas Hardwick (3-0, 2 KOs) defeated Jamell Williams (0-4) by unanimous decision at the Cordon Bleu in Woodhaven, Queens on Friday night.
Hardwick, weighing a career-high 219.5 pounds, was led into the ring by a piper, with trainer Grant Seligson, second Derric Rossy and cut man George Mitchell at his side.
Williams, 211.25 pounds, was waiting for the Dubliner in the ring, and he proved to be a far more durable opponent than his record suggested. The Arkansas native had an awkward style and was able to roll with many of the punches Hardwick threw over the course of the four-round fight.
He was also an old style come-at-you boxer who engaged with Hardwick throughout an active and entertaining scrap.
The 23-year-old’s chin was solid, as he took a plethora of shots from Hardwick. In the first round Hardwick looked to establish a fast pace, but Williams fought right back and tagged Hardwick on a few occasions, but the round still went to the Irishman.
Williams looked most vulnerable when Hardwick went to the body, and though his corner pleaded with him to go to his opponent's soft midriff more often, Hardwick spent most of his time headhunting.
As the fight progressed Williams tired and Hardwick dominated proceedings, finally making some real inroads with head-body combinations that wobbled his opponent late in the final round.
The judges were all in agreement that Hardwick won every stanza, and all scored the fight 40-36 in his favor.
"He (Williams) knew how to survive, that guy knew something about the game. I thought it was a very good test for him (Hardwick). He did some very good defensive things and he showed much better balance," said head trainer Grant Seligson after the fight.
Hardwick himself was delighted that he did not have to go looking for his opponent over the course of the fight.
"I feel like I was slipping his jab, and if I had a bit more experience to throw that left or right hand to the body and follow up on it, then I could have finished it," he told the Irish Voice.
"I am happy to come out of it not hurt. Getting a 'w' is always good and it was a good four rounds," he added.
For the newest addition to team Hardwick, assistant trainer Rossy, one thing stood out from Hardwick's performance.
"Defense. The guy he was fighting was pretty slick. He knew how to get out of the way from punches so he wasn't taking the full effect of it, but he forced Tom to stay honed on his skills and he showed a lot of defense,” he said.
"I am very impressed overall. He has come a long way."
Rossy went on to say that they would work on trying to get Hardwick to better judge the distance between himself and his opponent when trading shots.
Hardwick is tentatively scheduled to fight next in a four-round contest on October 22 on the undercard of WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire's defense against Omar Narvaez in the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden.